New Themes, a Winners-Only Mode, and More! A Look at the Tetris 99 2.0 Update

From weekend events that pay top players in eShop credit to event-exclusive themes, the best reason to subscribe to Nintendo’s weak online service continues to improve. Tetris 99 got a major bump last week thanks to its 2.0 update and the 2nd half of the Big Block DLC, which introduces exciting new modes, themes, and avatars. Let’s break down the new additions!

Invictus Mode

For the hardcore Tetris warriors, Invictus mode is only accessible to those who have won at least one battle royale match. Besides facing off against stiffer competition, the block speed is also faster. Before you hit the top 20, the blocks are falling faster than the fastest speed in regular Tetris 99. Not for everyone, but I really like this addition for those players that want the best possible fight!

New themes you can unlock through daily quests

As if regular Tetris 99 wasn’t addicting enough, the game introduces a new daily quest system with some very desirable rewards attached. By completing goals, you’ll earn tickets, which can be spent in the customization menu to unlock themes based on The Legend of Zelda, Super Mario, and Donkey Kong, along with a number of original themes. I have yet to sample them all, but the pull of unlocking themes is going to make this game even harder to put down.

Based on the amount of tickets you can unlock per day, I think you can unlock all of the skins in a few weeks if you really push. Fingers crossed that Nintendo will continually add more goodies to unlock over time!

New Avatars

Up until now, I haven’t really cared for the avatars in the game, which were mostly just different-coloured cubes. Now you can unlock a host of different designs by achieving certain in-game feats! I’m currently using one to signify that I’ve won a lot of Tetris 99 matches, but the shark one looks pretty cool too.

2P Share Battle

This mode is part of the Big Block DLC. Two players can face off against each other and 97 CPU opponents in the 2P Share Battle. While it’s nice to have this option in a pinch, it’s far from an ideal way to play. Since both boards are stacked on top of one another, the playing field is really small. Playing this in portable mode is a nightmare.

Furthermore, the targeting controls have changed, as it’s designed for the worst case scenario of players using half a Joy-Con. I got it to work with two pro controllers, but the right stick can only be used to cycle up-and-down the menu instead of being able to quickly flick one-of-four directions to make a selection. I doubt I’ll be using this mode much.


Arena is the one mode I haven’t tried. Also part of the Big Block DLC, it allows up to eight Switch consoles to play head-to-head. One person per Switch, so you’ll need a lot of hardware to make this mode work!

Though Tetris 99 launched as a barebones experience, Nintendo continues to pump it up with more reasons to play. If you don’t already have the Nintendo Switch Online service, you might want to consider grabbing the physical version of Tetris 99, which includes a year of Nintendo Switch Online and the Big Block DLC. Essentially, you’re paying for the DLC and access to the service, while also getting a physical copy of the game for free. Though I’m still reluctant to outright recommend the Nintendo Switch Online service to anyone, Tetris 99 is still the best reason to get it.

…I guess access to Super Nintendo games are cool too.

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