T&E Soft developed the game for release in the United States. A version was planned for Japanese markets entitled Polygo Block (ポリゴブロック Porigo Buroku?), meaning literally Polygonal Block. It was to be released in February 1996 at a cost of ¥5800. However, production of games was ceased due to lack of interest in the Virtual Boy system. This was the last game released on the Virtual Boy in North America.
This version of the game of Tetris uses a three-dimensional playing field as opposed to the traditional two dimensions more generally used. The player not only rotates the playing piece horizontally, but vertically as well which means that the piece has four possible directions in which to move.
3D Tetris includes three different ways to play: Center Fill, 3D Tetris, and Puzzle. In addition, each of the three allows players a choice of difficulty between easy, medium, and hard. Puzzle mode, in particular, broke with the traditional Tetris formula. It required players to build a certain shape using a diagram provided in the game.
The game included an option to save high scores with names, along with progress in the puzzle mode, to a battery backup.
3D Tetris received mixed reviews. Aaron Curtiss, writing for The Los Angeles Times, said that 3D Tetris "adds nothing to the original and leaves players feeling cheated." He criticized the control scheme and brushed off the 3D effects as somewhat superfluous. His views of the graphics were hardly better; he called them "vector graphic with some shading." Entertainment Weekly had even harsher criticism, calling it a "logy, eye-straining, desperate-to-please variant" of the Blockout game that came before it.
Video Games & Computer Entertainment had a slightly better appraisal of the game. They listed as one of their few complaints the sound, which they considered "annoying" - even more so than with the other "tinny" games on the Virtual Boy, they said. Game Informer considered a 3-dimensional Tetris game a "good idea," but called this attempt "fairly boring," and wished it had a faster pace.
- "3-D Tetris". MobyGames. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Japanese blurb for Polygo Block (AKA 3D Tetris) from Famicom Tsushin (ファミコン通信) #363. December 1, 1995.
- Patrick Ross. "3D Tetris". Nintendojo. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Nintendo Power #82. p.44. March 1996.
- "3D Tetris". Game Informer. 1 May 1996. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Dave Frear (23 July 2009). "Review: 3D Tetris (Virtual Boy)". Nintendo Life. Retrieved 24 May 2012.
- Curtiss, Aaron. "VALLEY WEEKEND; Nintendo Virtual Boy Measures Up to Billing; as its Library of Titles Slowly Grows, the 3-D System is Becoming More Well-Rounded and Less of a Headache." Los Angeles Times (pre-1997 Fulltext): 15. Los Angeles Times. May 02 1996. Web. 24 May 2012.