Since 2018, Tetris Effect has delighted players with its seamless integration of transcendent visuals and audio with Tetris’ established block-dropping mechanics. Its new mechanics also expand Tetris’ playability in a gratifying and natural way. It has also seen considerable support with numerous previous releases across the PlayStation 4, PC, and Xbox. The Nintendo Switch version of Tetris Effect: Connected invites curiosity as its portqWs often necessitate graphical compromises. Fortunately, it runs wonderfully and accurately encapsulates the Tetris Effect experience. While eagle-eyed veterans may notice some adjusted assets, the Switch version provides the same playability and fantastic visuals as prior iterations of the game.
Journey Mode brings players to abstract spaces full of delightful effects, tunes, and striking backgrounds. Tapping into the DNA of prior music-inspired titles such as Rez and Lumines, Tetris Effect explores the use of synesthesia to connect distinct senses. Notably, the game connects vision to hearing and tactile feedback to visual action. The mode consists of seven “areas” in which players move from stage to stage by clearing a designated number of lines. Each of these stages revolves around a designated theme such as a fiery world, a kaleidoscope, and even swimming amongst dolphins. One of the game’s most memorable aspects is its soundtrack, and vocal tracks such as “Connected (Yours Forever)” and “Look Up” are infinitely appealing.
Tetris Effect provides plenty of other single-player and multiplayer content. Effect Mode contains common Tetris modes such as the longform Marathon and the time-attack Ultra Mode, but it also includes stress-free modes and challenges that will push the player’s skill to the brink. The game also includes multiplayer functionality from the get-go. This includes 1v1 Zone Battle, Connected in which three players take on a raid boss, Score Attack, Classic Score Attack, and even the weekend Connected Vs. where one player can be the boss. Furthermore, the Switch version includes other versions’ recently implemented optional crossplay options, which lets players take on PlayStation, PC, and Xbox communities.
Tetris Effect’s signature game mechanic is the Zone. Clearing lines builds a gauge that players can expend in order to enter a slowdown state. This leads to massive successive line clears that can encompass the entire play field and then some. Zone clears result in big point bonuses, and during multiplayer matches they also send considerable amounts of garbage lines to the opponent. This results in strategic decision making and back-and-forth exchanges as players attempt to activate Zone at the right time to throw off their opponent.
Players may be curious just how well the Switch version runs given the game’s reputation for intense particle effects. Thankfully, the game has been marvelously optimized for the Switch. The game maintains a consistently smooth framerate throughout the majority of Journey Mode, and the particle effects are largely retained. The one caveat is that Zone Mode can cause some dropped frames, but this is ultimately rather minor. Online matches also run smoothly whether two or four players are duking it out.
The overall resolution and certain prop textures are also a tad reduced compared to other versions, but the overall presentation is nonetheless intact. As of the time of this writing, the Switch version sometimes has a minor quirk upon loading a new stage. The first piece can exhibit strange behavior like pausing for too long or momentary “fast-forwarding,” but this is generally not too troublesome.
For those who have played the game before, the Switch version’s new offerings are essentially HD Rumble and portability. This HD Rumble is particularly noticeable during stage transitions as the controller’s vibrations gradually grow in intensity. Another minor but expected trait is that the Switch version does not feature cross-progression of any kind, which means that players will have to unlock avatars and set scores from scratch.
While the Switch version lacks other additions, Tetris Effect is already a robust experience full of endlessly replayable varied content. Even after three years, Journey Mode is a delightful experience even for those who have played it before. For those who have not tried Tetris Effect: Connected, the Switch version is a fantastic way to jump into the game.