Tetris Ultimate review (Vita)

Tetris Ultimate is a must-have title on the Playstation Vita for fans of the classic puzzler. Read on to find out why.

While Tetris Ultimate only recently came to the Vita, it was first introduced last year on consoles and 3DS. Unfortunately, the PS4 release was overshadowed by performance issues in its online mode – but we’re happy to see that none of that has made it into the Vita version. What’s more… the recently released DLC pack for PS4 and Xbox One owners is included in the Vita version right from the get-go. You could say this is the ultimate version of Tetris Ultimate, but Ultimate Tetris Ultimate is just too much ultimate to handle.

There is very little to explain about the core Tetris game – arguably the most famous puzzle videogame of all time, largely thanks to its success on Nintendo’s Gameboy. Its music is iconic, it has spawned numerous sequels and spinoffs, and it has stood the test of time. So what has Ubisoft done to make sure this latest iteration will grab and hold your interest?

While the presentation is nice, with colorful high resolution visuals throughout, it’s really the diversity of the game modes that’s the main attraction here. Of course there’s the main mode we’re all familiar with, called Marathon or Endless in Tetris Ultimate. You progress through levels with increasingly fast drop rate, trying to reach the end (in Marathon) or a high score (in Endless) before letting your blocks hit the top of the screen.

tetris ultimate

Time becomes a factor in the Sprint, Ultra and Time’s Up modes. Sprint gives you a set number of forty lines to clear, and it’s all about doing it in the least amount of time possible. Ultra gives you 3 minutes to score as many points as you can, and Time’s Up is similar to a racing game where you have to reach a checkpoint in time to keep going – only here you’re clearing lines to gain extra time and prevent the clock from running out.

Landslide mode will dump a large stack of blocks onto your pile after a few turns, and then there’s Battle and Battle Ultimate, which are both multiplayer modes. Don’t feel like playing online or don’t have anyone to play Tetris with? Then the game also has AI opponents to play against. The real star of the show, however, is Haunted mode.

Haunted mode is perhaps best described as the Tetris equivalent to playing a chess game while blindfolded. While playing Haunted mode, you’ll spend most of your time not being able to see the blocks already stacked below – requiring you to memorize what’s down there and where your next block can go. At first, you’ll have regular glimpses of what’s down there, but as the game progresses you’ll have to rely more and more on your memorization. It’s fun to play, and a real challenge for those who thought they had already mastered Tetris.

So while “ultimate” is quite the claim, this version of Tetris really does offer a feature-rich package that is sure to please Tetris fans the world over. We would have enjoyed more options within the soundtrack (classic vs modern tracks, for example), but those are minor things for our wish list and don’t get in the way of Tetris Ultimate being a great Vita game.

Score: 9.4/10

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