Developed By: Arika
Published By: Nintendo
Available On: Nintendo Switch EShop
Release Date: February 13th, 2019
One thing I haven’t spoken on before are my many issues with the Nintendo Switch Online services. Sure, it’s cheap, but there’s a reason ‘you get what you pay for’ is a common saying. Having to still use friend codes to easily communicate with your friends is a complete joke. Replacing the Virtual Console with the NES library, which is locked behind the services, is a huge downgrade. Worst of all: the netcode for most games, such as Splatoon 2 or Smash Bros Ultimate are absolutely horrendous if you don’t have an Ethernet Adapter. Nintendo doesn’t know how to properly build games for the internet, and I doubt they’ll learn anytime soon.
But you know what? I’ll deal with all that bullshit if it means I can play more Tetris 99.
Battle Royale games are currently the biggest genre of game in the fucking world. Fortnite now stands above all other games, with the largest player base of children in any game ever (non of whom I’m here to bully, I’m perfectly fine with the biggest online daycare ever). Apex Legends is quickly shooting through the ranks thanks to it’s solid additions to the formula. Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds is… still a thing, I guess. This genre is huge, and it’s not going away anytime soon.
So what’s the next evolution for this genre? Tetris of course!
Tetris 99 is a simple and addictive game. If you know literally anything about video games, then you know how Tetris is played. Blocks of different shapes and lengths drop down, and you need to line them up to clear them. You keep going until the screen is all filled up and you lose. So how do you make this simple game better and more addictive?
Easy! You throw the player into a room with another ninety-eight people, throw a single dagger in there, say “Only one of you leaves. Have fun!”, close and lock the door, and wait for the screams.
This is still a very simple game. You and the other ninety-eight people are all playing a simultaneous game of Tetris, with the goal of being the only one to survive the war. If you clear enough rows at once, you can send garbage onto another player’s screen, which is set by criteria of your choice (random, players targeting you, players close to losing, or players with Badges, which we’ll get to in a bit) that clutters their screen, pushing them closer to defeat. You can hold one block in reserve for just the right moment, which can save you from a desperate situation should you preserve the necessary block. You play until you lose or all the others are crushed beneath your heels.
There is one mechanic that helps this game stand apart from your typical Tetris title: the Badge system. When you knock out another player by sending garbage their way, you earn a piece of a badge and steal whatever badges that player may have had. The more badges you possess, the more garbage you send to the other players screen. At best, you can boost your damage by a full one hundred percent (which makes my inner sadist cackle with sheer delight). It’s a simple system that adds a layer of complexity to the game that makes it all the better.
Tetris Battle Royale seemed like a poor but funny idea when it was first announced. But upon actually playing the game, I found myself having an insane amount of fun. I’ve managed to win a fair number of games, thanks to a combination of strangely good luck and an insane number of hours put into Puyo-Puyo Tetris on the same console.
But you know what makes this game stand slightly taller than that game? This one is free to play. And better yet: it doesn’t demand your credit card information every ten seconds!
If you want something simple, easy to play, adrenaline pumping and fun, then I’d recommend this game. It’s a battle royale game that takes the classic tried-and-true formula of the Tetris series and applies it masterfully. If you like Tetris and don’t like battle royale games, I’d still say you should give this one a shot.
That is, if you can stand to support Nintendo’s god awful online services. But hey! As I alluded to earlier: at least it’s cheap.