From its origins on PC, to Tetris 99 on the Nintendo Switch, there are countless versions of classic Tetris out there. Odds are, the Tetris Company will continue to iterate on the traditional Tetris formula until the end of time. However, there have been a number of offshoot puzzle games that don’t play like Tetris, but bear the name anyway. Let’s take a look back at a trio of these: Tetris 2, Tetris Attack, and Tetrisphere!
Did the makers of Tetris truly believe that any game would be worthy of sequel status, let alone this one? Whether they believed that Tetris 2 was the real deal or just using it as a marketing ploy, Tetris 2 falls well short of the lofty expectations that come with being a numbered sequel.
Not to say that Tetris 2 is a bad game. It’s essentially Dr. Mario with Tetris pieces, as you aim to match like-coloured blocks to make all of the nodes on each board disappear. In particular, I enjoy the puzzle mode where you must clear a board with a certain set of pieces. Sadly, its biggest misgiving is its name. By any other title, its legacy would likely be a bit more notable than it is today.
A phenomenal game in its own right that actually got hindered by the Tetris name being associated with it. Known as Panel de Pon in Japan, Tetris Attack is a precursor to the modern match-3 puzzle game. Pieces rise from the bottom and you need to clear them away by matching three or more in a row or column.
What keeps Tetris Attack near the top of my all-time favourite puzzle games list is its killer head-to-head mode. Between two skilled players, it becomes a frenetic experience where players are stringing together seemingly-endless combos until the other one cracks. Unfortunately, due to Nintendo losing the Tetris license, Tetris Attack has never returned outside of Japan in its original form. You can still enjoy variations of this title though under different names, such as Pokemon Puzzle League and Planet Puzzle League.
One of the most curious titles to leverage the Tetris name, Tetrisphere on the Nintendo 64 had little resemblance to the source material. Played on a sphere populated with Tetrimino pieces, your goal was to connect pieces of the same type together before shooting them away. There was a stretch of about a week where I got really into Tetrisphere, but I don’t blame anyone for letting this one fall through the cracks of history.
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