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Tetris Effect: Connected’s coolest multiplayer mode is its Classic Score Attack. This is a faithful re-creation of the versus rules from Tetris for the Nintendo Entertainment System. This is the game that the world’s best Tetris pros play at the Classic Tetris World Championship each year. And it’s awesome that developers Enhance and Monstars went to the effort of bringing that exact style of Tetris forward onto modern machines. Tetris Effect: Connected launches November 10 for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, and PC. Current Tetris Effect owners also get Connected as a free update on PC and PS4 in summer 2021.
When I say that Classic Score Attack is faithful, I mean that it strips out most of the modern conveniences casual Tetris fans rely on. You won’t get a ghost outline to show where your piece is going. You cannot bank a piece. The game only shows you one upcoming piece instead of four. The NES didn’t have those features, so this doesn’t, either.
And you’re probably thinking, “What is the point of simplifying a game like Tetris Effect that was so willing to rethink the conventions of the puzzle classic?” Well, Classic Score Attack is only one of the modes. And the designers at Enhance found a number of ways to make multiplayer fit into one of the best games of the last several years.
Tetris Effect launched in 2018 for PlayStation 4 and PSVR. In my review, I praised Tetris Effect for clearly illustrating how games create meaning at the point where sound, visuals, and mechanics collide. But I was also worried that it was the kind of game I would rarely pick up again after beating. And while I’ve returned a handful of times since its release, I’m happy that Enhance is adding multiplayer as a reason to spend even more of my life in Tetris Effect.
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Tetris Effect brings its clever mechanical spin into the action with Connected and Zone Battles
While Classic Score Attack is a great way to live like the Tetris pros, I think most players will have a better time with the Connected or Zone Battles.
Zone Battles is a 1-on-1 versus mode similar to Score Attack, but it brings in Tetris Effect’s time-freezing zone mechanics. This is where you build up a meter by clearing lines. This gives you the chance to activate your zone, where you can stockpile a huge amount of line clears that will all go through to your opponent at once. Zone Battles are intense and tricky. The strategy seems to come down to using your zone at the right time.
Connected and Connected Vs., meanwhile, are cooperative modes. In Connected, three players work together to take on a series of AI-controlled bosses. This competitive take on Tetris multiplayer has your team building up your Zone meter together. Once your crew fills it up, all three of your playfields merge together.
You then need to take turns placing pieces to try to clear as many lines as possible across a massive board. When your zone ends, the game sends all of the lines you cleared over to the boss’s field as garbage.
Connected Vs. is the same thing, only a player can actually take on the role of the boss against three players working as a team.
It’s all really well done. I played on the preview Xbox Series X hardware, and I’m ready to use all of this as an excuse to get back into this incredible puzzle experience.
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