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|Mode(s)||Single player, multiplayer, online multiplayer|
Tetris DS (テトリスDS Tetorisu Dī Esu?) is a Touch! Generations puzzle game developed and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo DS. THQ announced Tetris DS before E3 2005, and scheduled it to make an appearance at the show. However, the company decided to cancel the game, and Nintendo released their own make of Tetris DS in March 2006. Part of the Tetris game series, the game supports up to ten players locally (with just one Nintendo DS game cartridge) and supported two or four player battle modes online with the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection service (no longer available for Nintendo DS games).
Tetris DS features several new modes of play, each with a different Nintendo theme. Themes include Super Mario Bros., The Legend of Zelda, Metroid, Balloon Fight, Donkey Kong, and Yoshi's Cookie. Multiplayer gameplay also incorporates items to be used competitively.
Standard mode plays much like traditional Tetris, although in Tetris DS, the play field is on the bottom screen, and a Nintendo themed gameplay clip loops on the top screen. This gameplay varies depending on how far you have gotten in the game. Standard mode can be played as a one player marathon, multiplayer with two players or one player versus a computer controlled opponent. Standard mode features a Super Mario Bros. backdrop, a Super Mario Bros. 3 backdrop and several other Nintendo Entertainment System game backdrops. One player Marathon mode ends at level 20 (after 200 lines), although Endless mode can be unlocked after finishing Marathon mode. For the Mario backdrops, Mario advances through familiar levels as the player clears lines. There are eventually other backdrops based on other games that appear later in the mode.
All of the backdrops each have their own background music, with the exception of backdrops from levels 16 through 19. These backdrops share a song called "Rushed Tetris" which contained elements from Excitebike, Urban Champion, Devil World, and Duck Hunt.
In Endless mode, if the player reaches beyond level 20, the cycle of backdrops repeats. The highest visible score in Endless mode is 99,999,999, the highest visible level is 999, and the highest visible number of lines completed is also 999. Once exceeded these displays continue to show these maximum values. A small glitch in the game means that once the score has surpassed the maximum of 99,999,999 it is not saved in the records screen.
Like most iterations of Tetris, Tetris DS's Standard mode has variations to the basic formula of the game. The player is allowed to hold a Tetrimino by pressing L or R. This allows the player to insert the tetromino currently on the screen into a small box for future use, and will swap places with a piece after the button is pressed again. This does not work when pressed twice in a row (holding a piece, then attempting to hold the adjacent piece after).
The speed of the falling Tetriminoes increases noticeably faster than in other games, and at Level 18 and above, Tetriminoes are instantly on the ground the moment they appear. However, a Tetrimino will not lock into place until the player does not move or rotate it for a set amount of time. This means that the player can keep the piece in play indefinitely by rotating it consistently. This "infinite rotation" rule was first seen in The Next Tetris and negates much of the difficulty that comes with the increased falling speed, so that a good player can clear hundreds of levels in an Endless Marathon.
Mission mode can be played competitively, or as a marathon to beat your own score. The top screen displays your objective or "mission," while the bottom screen displays the playing field. A timer in the form of red hearts slowly disappears; when a player completes the objective, the hearts fill anew and the player is assigned a new objective. Also, completing an objective erases the bottom four lines of blocks from the playing field. Failing to complete the objective in time will result in added blocks to the bottom of the pile. An example of an objective is for the player to clear three lines with an "L" shaped Tetrimino. Other examples include clearing five lines while only receiving square Tetriminoes, or clearing three lines simultaneously with anything except a bar-shaped Tetrimino (in this case, using a bar Tetrimino will not clear the objective). Mission mode features a The Legend of Zelda backdrop. When playing Mission in the multiplayer function, it is the only mode where the player cannot 'lose'. The screen may max out, but the player will lose points (up to a total of negative one hundred -100), however you can only finish this game and lose due to points, it is impossible to lose like a normal Tetris game.
Push mode is a competitive play mode for two players, or one person versus a CPU controlled opponent. Both players start with a 1x1 block floating in their field, and must place Tetriminoes on that to form a base (if a Tetrimino is dropped where it won't land on anything, it will simply fall out of the screen). Whenever two or more lines are cleared simultaneously, the player's side of the pile moves down, "pushing" the opponent's side upwards (The player's side is seen on the top screen, while the bottom screen shows the opponent's side upside-down, since the bottoms of both players' piles push against each other). The goal is to push the pile down so it overlaps the opponent's danger line. Push mode features a Donkey Kong backdrop.
In Touch mode, a player uses the Nintendo DS stylus to "touch" and "slide" static Tetriminoes to create rows. When enough Tetriminoes have cleared, a cage of balloons is released. Touch mode has no timer, nor do Tetriminoes fall from the top. The playing field spans both DS screens; but only Tetriminoes appearing in lower touch screen could be moved. A Touch Puzzle mode is also available, where for each level, a given objective must be achieved, but the Tetriminoes cannot be rotated. Touch mode features a Balloon Fight backdrop. This is the only mode which uses Tetris 2's cascading gravity, allowing chain reactions to occur.
In Catch mode, a player controls one central block, which can be moved in all directions and rotated. The player "catches" falling Tetriminoes, which adhere to the central block; once a player has a segment of 4x4 or greater, it will flash for ten seconds, then detonate. The player can then use the explosion to destroy Metroids, the enemies, or Tetriminoes. While the 4x4 square flashes, more blocks can be attached to it to gain more points when it detonates (the flashing portion only expands if another four blocks are added to one of its sides). Pressing X will immediately detonate the blocks. If any Tetriminoes fall beyond the boundaries, the central block is hit by enemies, or a falling Tetrimino touches the central block while it is being rotated, the player will lose energy. Energy is depicted at the bottom of the screen as a bar, and some energy is restored when a 4x4 or greater area of blocks is detonated. If energy runs out, or Tetriminoes are stacked so far that the central block is longer than the entire screen, the game is over. Catch mode features a Metroid backdrop.
In Puzzle mode, the top screen displays the playing field that is already several lines high, with several gaps; the bottom screen displays a limited selection of Tetriminoes to choose from. A player must select the shape and orientation of a Tetrimino to fill the gaps and clear the screen. There is no time limit. Puzzle mode features a Yoshi's Cookie backdrop. Each Puzzle completed gives you 10 Tetris Points.
Standard mode and Push mode are capable of online and DS-to-DS wireless play. Push mode is available for two players in multiplayer matches whereas Standard mode is available for two players (without items) or four players (with items).
In addition, Mission mode is only capable of DS-to-DS wireless play, but Standard mode is available for up to ten players, using only one Tetris DS playing card.
Tetris DS has an 84% on Metacritic and an 87% on GameRankings, which mean generally favorable reviews. GamePro gave the game a perfect score, stating that "Tetris DS is an amazing puzzle package, and is easily one of the best DS games to date". Nintendo Power gave Tetris DS 9.5/10, saying that "you may not love all of it, but you will love much of it". Game Informer gave the game a 9.25/10, and the reviewer said "I can't think of any better way to kill a long plane ride". GameSpot gave the game the most negative score, 7.5/10, stating that "It's a much better version of Tetris than other recent incarnations, but it's still saddled with some unfortunate compromises."
As of July 25, 2007, Tetris DS had sold 2.05 million copies worldwide. Tetris DS is currently out of print, as Nintendo's license for the Tetris series has expired.