Tetris 99: Switch Exclusive is Addictive Excellence

Tetris 99
Why not 100?

Tetris needs no introduction, but did you know the game is still in action? It’s steadily evolved since Alexey Pajitnov created the classic puzzler back in Soviet-era Russia – 1984. And its most recent concept just hit the Nintendo Switch with gusto. Hurray!

Tetris 99

Okay, so this is actually a free download for Switch owners. It’s a no brainer. What a fantastic, addictive, riveting entry it is into the series.

Developed by Japanese dev team Akira, it’s a multiplayer extravaganza where quick wits, intensity, and panic are the name of the game.

This one came out of nowhere with no warning – Nintendo revealed it in its Direct presentation yesterday and then the game hit the eShop. And, boy, is it worth it! You compete against up to 99 other players.

And it’s way more complex than you may first realise – it’s not really like the original game, it’s a merciless battle royale where you:

  • Clear two, three, or four lines of blocks to dump garbage on other opponents (you can choose who, or have it done at random).
  • Level up with KOs (killing other opponents by blocking out their screen), so that you gain badges and dump more garbage on others the more badges you get.
  • Try and bloody survive the manic onslaught.

It’s a free-for-all, basically. And it’s excellent – a thoroughly engaging experience that’s set to be a highlight for the Switch this year.

A Brief History of Tetris

You may wonder quite how you can adapt the simplistic tetromino block arranging formula, but over the years we’ve witnessed some innovative ideas. This included a 3D Tetris on the Nintendo 64 (called Tetrisphere) and a really weird Virtual Boy concept.

But the story of Tetris is one that’s surprisingly complex. Communist-era Russia failed to capitalise on the game properly, with the more capitalistically minded Americans and Europeans seeking to make money from it instead.

Russia was blissfully unaware it was sitting on a goldmine (as documented in David Sheff’s excellent book Game Over). All the while, the humble and quiet Pajitnov went about his duties without earning a penny.

Come 1996 and the Russian finally gained full control of his product – he founded The Tetris Company with close friend Henk Rogers.

Ever since, various adaptations of Tetris have hit endless devices.

The game is so astonishingly malleable – it can shift seamlessly into any new generation, merging with the latest technology regardless of the game’s simplicity.

All we can see is it going on and one for decades to come, like an unstoppable bloody monster. And that’s more than welcome, as it’s bloody fabulous.

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