A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tetris Party Deluxe, the newest incarnation of the seminal "falling block" puzzle game, offers online multiplayer options. Kids can play either with "friends" they've got registered on their console or with random players on the global network. Live chatting is only available for those who have the Wii Speak peripheral when they are playing with registered friends.
What's it about?
TETRIS was the video game that turned falling blocks into the iconic form for many puzzle games. TETRIS PARTY DELUXE offers loads of new variations on that falling block theme. You'll find creative new modes that task you to drop blocks into stair form so a little climber can scale them, or to drop blocks into a specific pattern in order to create an image with them. Plus there are tons of multiplayer modes that will have you both racing against and working with other players. Multiplayer games can happen locally (on the same console) or through online play.
Is it any good?
Tetris Party Deluxe offers some fabulously fun new variations on the classic Tetris game. The original version is still there. And none of the new game modes are too fancy or next-generation-ish. But it all goes to show that minimalist puzzle games can still offers hours of exciting, suspenseful fun. And they can even work remarkably well as multiplayer party games -- something which may not have been readily apparent before this. The whole idea of cooperative Tetris -- in which two players work together, dropping blocks onto the same gameboard -- is a brilliant one that forces you to change your tactics while playing. And some of the other new game modes -- including one that turns the Tetris concept on its head, requiring you to stack blocks high, rather than eliminate them -- feel very inspired.
Online interaction: Kids can play online either with friends or strangers, however chatting is only an option when playing with people you've already designated as a "friend" on your Wii. (The DS doesn't support chat.)
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the game's multiplayer modes. As Tetris Party Deluxe is compatible with voice chat between friends, families should discuss exactly who should be invited as a "friend." Who qualifies as a safe person to "friend" for online gameplay?
Parents can also ask kids what they can learn from a puzzle game like Tetris. How does the gameplay relate to math or geometry?
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