Billed as “The ultimate test of advanced territorial strategy”, this woefully inept adaptation of the Soviet video game Tetris delivers an underwhelming experience that leaves me wondering if this was simply a lazy attempt to cash in on a cultural phenomenon in early video gaming. It demonstrates how video gaming and board gaming aren’t interchangeable and senseless adaptations and doomed to failure.
The failure is threefold. First and foremost, the removal of the time constraint that defines Tetris on computer kills the pacing and pressure that had palms sweaty and jaws clenched on that platform. Even artificially placing time limitations on yourself doesn’t capture the feeling of urgency that is caused by watching the blocks drop on the screen, just as manually calculating line scores doesn’t match watching that bar disintegrate and drop the next row.
The second issue that kills any fun in this game is the randomised pieces each player receives to build their side of the board. It is perfectly possible for one player to be given a game-breaking advantage right at the start with no remedy. Victory is determined as much by luck as by skill or strategy.
The third, final, and least of the problems is that Tetris was designed to be a single player experience; man against machine, reflex against logic. To make such a game two-player makes it into a strategy game more than a test of instinct and reflex. As a fan of the original Tetris, I feel this is a huge loss. It is, however, less of a deal-breaker than the other two major issues, as a single-player board game would defeat the purpose entirely.
In the game’s favour I’d praise the strong colour and art work and relatively clear instructions.
It’s worth mentioning that the spinner was very sticky other aspects of the set were less sturdy than they could have been.
In conclusion, I would not recommend this game. Play the original video game for a better Tetris experience and play a board game designed from the ground up with multiplayer experience in mind for a more fun group experience.