You’ve played it before. The only important information you need to know about any version of Tetris on any system is how much will you pay. Tetris Axis aims to turn your attention away from all the cheaper ways you can acquire Tetris on the 3DS with a slew of game modes and some 3D block dropping goodness. Is it enough in the end to justify a $29.99 price point?
I have to applaud the fine people who develop Tetris for every game playing device. Almost every platform, every device with at least one or two buttons has a version of Tetris. Well, I guess the Zune never got it officially. I can’t imagine the detail they go into to find new modes or twists on this proven formula. By all means they could simply rehash the same old game every time on every platform, and they do recycle content. But there is clearly a solid effort put into differentiating Tetris Axis from its cheaper counterparts. That is saying something about the reach of Tetris’s influence on casual gaming that it’s main competition is itself.
Your $30 nets you 20 game modes. The most notable are the classic Marathon, Fever, Climber, and Jigsaw. You can battle with friends locally via download play or online, that is if you can get the online to work at all. I was only able to retrieve an error code when I tried to access this feature. Climber is addicting, and in my mind the deepest mode that has the most replay ability outside of Marathon. As you’ve probably already read about this game, most of the 20 modes are throw away variants of the Tetris you love. Some will grasp you more than others, and the package reduces itself to a good 3-5 modes worth playing.
3D Tetriminos and AR modes are the 3DS exclusive benefits with Axis. The 3D is actually pretty nice, it adds some decent depth between where your pieces start descending at the top of the screen, and where they end up near the bottom. The game allows you to shift the angle of which you view the Tetris board, thus creating more distance between blocks in 3D. It’s nice, and I’m surprised it works at all. It isn’t very necessary though, and the AR modes don’t do anything particular unique. You can’t exactly play AR Climber onto of your nieces head for laughs, you use the standard 3DS AR cards on a flat surface. The extra work of finding an AR card amongst the many discarded gaming accessories you’ve attained isn’t really worth even trying, but kids will probably find the most enjoyment out of this novelty.
Tetris Axis isn’t bad, and by far it tries to be one of the best valued Tetris games in recent memory. It really wants to be more than Marathon mode, but bare bones menu’s and some of the worst Tetris music ever don’t help the lack luster presentation. You have to ask yourself if the price is worth it knowing you will spend 90% of your time playing Marathon, then again we’ve been asking ourselves this about Tetris for 20 years.