Part of my ambivalence towards the battle royale genre of games thus far is that I’m not particularly good at shooters. My aim has never been that sharp. In the case of Fortnite, I can’t wrap my head around the physical execution required to build walls and ramps at a competitive speed. Because of my inability to perform at a high level in those games, I felt like prey, just waiting for a hunter to gun me down. Regardless of how high I finish on the scoreboard, it almost always feels like a fraudulent result.
I may suck with a digital gun, but I can stack blocks with the best of them. Being able to leverage a lifetime of Tetris knowledge and skills in Tetris 99 has opened my mind to a new perspective on the genre.
Before Tetris 99, I was an avid competitor in the online Tetris DS scene. Having played over 5,000 matches in 1v1, I peaked within the top 300 in the world on the leaderboards. I loved the sensation that came with doing something well on my board being then immediately reflected in the junk sent to my opponent. It becomes almost like a tug-of-war, where both sides are constantly battling each other for better positioning. Pushing their boards over the edge with a group of junk blocks is the same sensation as giving the rope one hard yank and causing your opponent to fall over the line. Once I got good at it, I couldn’t get enough of the sensation that came with asserting my dominance over other players.
Tetris 99 gives me the opportunity to flex my muscles against 98 other opponents. Though I’m not directly attacking or defending against all of them at once, I’m also not doing the equivalent of hiding in the bathroom, either. Whether I’m auto-targeting players who are attacking me, or sniping others on the brink of defeat, I’m taking an active role at knocking people out of the game. In my best game yet, I knocked out 17 out of 98 opponents on my road to victory. Besting 98 other players while directly putting 17 in body bags in one go is a power trip that is on another level.
Taking an active role in knocking people out of Tetris 99 is a double-edged sword. While eliminating players gives you badges that increase your attack power, it also makes you a bigger target to players who focus their attacks on players who are performing well. Being a larger target doesn’t faze me. Partly because knocking people out gives you badges, which gives you the ability to send more junk blocks than normal. Also, in a firefight, I’m confident enough in my abilities to crush almost anyone that dares attack me. More often than not, getting caught in my junk block storm will be your downfall.
I don’t win every time. Sometimes, I get hit with an onslaught from multiple attackers that I can’t overcome. Once in a while, I get bested in a duel against better players, and I simply applaud them on their superior play. Sometimes, I just play really terribly.
That said, based on my time with Tetris 99 thus far, I’m gunning for #1 every time. I’ve won my fair share of matches already, and routinely finish in the top 10. The carnage I cause along the way fuels my thirst for power, even if I ultimately fall short. It’s a far cry from hiding in the bathroom, waiting for my time to get shot. Tetris in battle royale form gives me the opportunity to be the hunter instead of the hunted.
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