Tetris 99 – Season 1 Big Block DLC Review

Tetris 99 has been one of 2019’s biggest surprises. Putting a battle royale spin on a timeless classic has grown to become Nintendo Switch Online’s killer app. Even with only one mode during the first few months of the game’s existence, I’ve poured dozens of hours into the game and had no plans of stopping.

But for players looking to shake things up, the Big Block DLC is available for purchase. For $9.99 USD, you get access to two new offline modes. Are these new additions enough to pry you away from the online multiplayer action?

Based on what I’ve read, you do not need to have Nintendo Switch Online to play the Big Block DLC. Simply buy the DLC from the eShop and you’re good to go. That said, you won’t have access to the game’s addictive online battle royale mode without a subscription.

One of the two modes you get as part of this DLC package is CPU Battle. Instead of squaring off against 98 other people, you’ll play against the AI. The online competition is savage, so it’s great to see this mode come with multiple difficulty settings. You can even adjust the number of badges you start with. While I easily trounced the AI on most difficulties, the hardest setting has embarrassed me on a few occasions. For times when I’m on the road, or for those who want the experience of playing Tetris 99 without being thrown to the wolves every time, this is a nice alternative.

The other is a Marathon mode. This is as close to vanilla Tetris as it gets, as you’re playing for a high score while trying to reach either 150 lines or 999 lines. The 150 line mode has a number of different difficulty settings to tailor the experience to your liking. Having completed the 999 mode, I can confirm that it’s not for the feint of heart! My first completed run took me about 45 minutes to complete. Also, by the time you reach 500 blocks, your ability to spin blocks on the ground will be greatly tested.

Both modes feature some slight updates to their presentation. The backgrounds for both modes have been given slightly different looks. However, I really wish more music was added to the experience. I love the modern remix of the Tetris Type-A theme as much as anyone, but more music would help keep things fresh.

Having these two offline modes is a great step towards us getting a complete Tetris package out of Tetris 99. For players who don’t want to pay for the online service, or just want a more vanilla Tetris experience, this is a great entry point at a reasonable price. I wish it came with more music, but it’s a minor gripe that could be resolved in a free update in the future.

D-Pad Left Joycon

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2 thoughts on “Tetris 99 – Season 1 Big Block DLC Review

  1. Angie May 13, 2019 / 2:45 PM

    I’ve been considering getting this since I saw the announcement. Would love to participate online but it’s a poor fundamentals practice environment when you’re getting crapped on constantly hahah. I really hope to see Tetris Effect on Switch. I’d jump on that right away.

    • Jett May 13, 2019 / 2:50 PM

      With the adjustable difficulty, you can definitely tweak the experience to give yourself a fighting chance against the AI!

      Tetris Effect on the Switch would be amazing! There might be some legal rights mumbo jumbo with Sony that could prevent that, but being able to play that particular flavour of Tetris on the go would be wonderful.

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