4.5 out of 5


  • Visual options
  • Many modes to choose
  • Wide range of difficulty
  • Zone Mode
  • Replay value
  • 1989


  • No multiplayer

PlayStation 4
Enhance Games
Resonair, Monstars
File Size (Minimum)
2.81 GB
Release Date (NA)
Nov 9, 2018
Release Date (JP)
Nov 9, 2018
Purchase From

Filed Under

Tetris is one of the most well-known puzzle games in the world. Since its original release in 1984, there have been dozens of versions for nearly every electronic device. While many Tetris games may feel similar and forgetful, don’t pass on Tetris Effect. Developed and designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi and the same people who brought you Rez Infinite and Lumines, it takes the classic puzzle game into a whole new world of bright and interactive visuals.

Puzzle Exploring

When starting the game, you are given many ways to play in two main areas: Journey Mode and Effects Mode. You’ll want to play Journey Mode’s 25+ stages first before anything else because going through each one will unlock features in Effects Mode. You also have a few different difficulty options: beginner, normal, and expert. With Tetris Effect being a very vibrant, visually stylish game, start off as a beginner to get accustomed to it.

Tetris Effect

The basic concept is simple: clear enough lines to go on to the next stage. However, when you are continuously going from one stage to the next, something magical happens. Perhaps it’s because the transition between stages is super smooth (as if there are no load times), but the overall experience feels as if you are on a roller coaster, climbing up to the next drop. It’s flawless work.

After completing the stages, you can enter the theater mode. This mode gives you the chance to interact with the visuals or just sit back them instead of the actual puzzle. It’s not necessary to play, but it’s nice bit of extra gravy.

Effects Mode has 15 different modes to play: Marathon, Ultra, Sprint, Master, Chill Marathon, Quick Play, Playlist: Sea, Playlist: Wind, Playlist: World, All Clear, Combo, Target, Countdown, Purify, and Mystery. Every mode has its own unique difficulty that’ll challenge your Tetris skills to their limits. Some are timed quests, requiring you to clear certain lines or create combos, while others are more suitable for a relaxing session with no Game Over, such as Chill Marathon and Quick Play. However, as noted before, you cannot play all these modes right away; you must unlock the stages in Journey Mode first.

Tetris Effect

Choose Your Own Style

You will run into some stage themes where the visuals can be overwhelming. Fortunately, the game offers a variety of options to tone them down, so there’s no need to worry. You can change the color of blocks to make them more traditional or decrease the amount of stage effects to make the stage easier to play. Having all these options available opens the doors to players of many types.

Those who own the PlayStation VR can experience Tetris Effect in a new way. Equipped with the headset, the visuals will surround your view, and you can tilt the puzzle by moving your head. For non-VR players, that can be accomplished by using the controller.

You can also adjust non-visual aspects like your menu soundtrack and avatar. Tetris Effect’s soundtrack is upbeat with various harmonic styles. Overall, it’s not as catchy as the tunes in the original Tetris or even Dr. Mario, but it’s still a cool and unique playlist.

Your avatar represents your global Tetris Effect profile. While you can’t actually interact with other players, you can view their PlayStation Network username and level. You can earn experience points to gain levels, and the higher your level, the better you look in front of friends and other Tetris players. That said, you’ll be titled “an apprentice” for quite a few levels, but there’s more to it than just showing off your level and title.

Tetris Effect


Originally given to players during the game’s demo weekend, those who achieve level 50 can unlock the stage, 1989. What is 1989? The year Tetris was released for the Nintendo Game Boy, and this special stage matches that version’s visuals and sounds perfectly. It’s a fantastic gift for those who work hard to achieve it. Hopefully, Tetsuya and his team can create a replica of the famous 1984 Electronika 60 level, too.

Tetris Effect

Zoned In

From the puzzle blocks to the background, every little piece and space is beautifully designed to match not only visually with the stage itself but also with the stage’s soundtrack. Those who are familiar with Lumines will recognize Tetsuya’s style. Each block dropped creates a sound effect to match the stage’s music. Yes, each stage has its own exclusive visuals and sound effects.

While flashy colors and upbeat tracks are great, the game keeps the core gameplay on what made Tetris popular—being wrapped into dropping blocks and racking up points. Stacking blocks to clear a large amount of rows never felt so good. Yet, Tetris Effect adds more beyond the clearing-four-rows high. While playing in Journey Mode, when you clear enough lines, you can initiate the Zone Mode.

Zone Mode stops time to let you fix any mistakes, but it also gives you the option to build up points. Now, you can clear over four rows at a time, a new experience for Tetris players and for the series. The new mode doesn’t last forever since you’re on a time limit to fix and rack up those points. Maybe you’ll be able to achieve the Decahexatris?

With all the options, modes, and the game’s level-up status, there are many reasons to keep coming back. Don’t be surprised if you are up till 3 a.m. playing Tetris.

Tetris Effect

Going Solo

What made Tetris extra fun was playing against your friend. Unfortunately, Tetris Effect does not have this option; it’s missing both locally and online. The logic to not have this may have been based on the PlayStation VR compatibility or the amount of work involved with the visuals and sound effects. Or perhaps the game was simply built to maximize the single player experience. Either way, it makes whipping this game out during a party more difficult (unless there’s a drinking component attached to it). It’s just a bummer that it’s not available.

Final Line

With a wide variety of options, modes, and secrets at players’ disposal, Tetris Effect is the best puzzle game since the original NES Tetris release in 1984. Regardless of the missing multiplayer, there’s something here for everyone, and players should not overlook this incredible experience. The Decahexatris awaits!

Disclaimer: A digital review copy was provided by Enhance for the PlayStation 4.

Tetris Effect - Gameplay Footage

About Seth Hay - Editor-in-chief / Webmaster

When Seth is not designing or developing, he spends time with his family and his occasional dose of anime, sports and video games.

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