Not that the original release had many flaws. It was a flexible, intricately designed version of the gaming classic in which geometric shapes fall from the top of the screen, and the player has to fit them together into unbroken, horizontal lines that are then removed from the game board. Each round ends when the blocks reach the top of the screen. There have been many versions of Tetris released for many platforms over the years.
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But Tetris Effect doesn’t just offer a few new game modes or wrinkles to the original game modes. Developers Monstars Inc. and Resonair sync the action to the animations and music of each level, creating a wild collection of moods and aesthetics that elevate the original mechanics of play. Some levels are calming, while others are almost aggressive, but they all inspire some form of emotional reaction.
And just about every aspect of the game can be adjusted to fit your personal style of play, or you can go through the menus to create a simple, stripped-down version of the game to practice the strategic fundamentals of block placement and speed. You can play it on your PlayStation 4 connected to a standard screen, or with a PlayStation VR system if you wanted to feel like you were inside the swirling world of shapes and lines. Tetris Effect is a Tetris platform as much as a singular release.
Tetris Effect on PC would be noteworthy if it only meant that players without a PlayStation 4 can now play a game that’s arguably a modern classic, especially since it ships with support for both the Oculus Rift and Vive families of virtual reality headsets. But this version of the game does much more than just expand the number of hardware platforms that can run it.
Without much to improve in terms of the gameplay itself, this port of Tetris Effect offers many more visual options for players with the hardware to take advantage of them. The resolution can go up to 4K “or more,” according the Epic Games Store page, and turning off V-Sync unlocks the frame rate, allowing for an experience as smooth as your hardware will allow. Tetris Effect on PC is also ready for ultra-wide monitors out of the box, and the beautiful, swirling visuals of each level take advantage of all the screen you can throw at them.
The PC version of Tetris has options for rendering scale and texture filtering, shadow quality and multiple levels of anti-aliasing. You can change the volume of particles as well as the size of each individual particle. There is a toggle for HDR if your display supports it, and the added resolution of VR platforms like the Vive Index and Rift S means there’s a substantial improvement over the visuals provided by PlayStation VR.
Do any of these options make Tetris Effect a better game? Not that I’ve found after playing this version for for the past week or so, but playing on a powerful system that can handle all the settings at the near-maximum levels is breathtaking in a way that can’t be replicated on a PS4 or even a PlayStation 4 Pro.
So much of the power of Tetris Effect comes from the visuals and sound, so pushing my system until the fans screamed to get the most out of those visuals was certainly a more enjoyable way to play, if only to get drunk on the lush sprays of glowing particle effects.
A top-of-the-line gaming PC isn’t necessary to enjoy Tetris Effect, but I still appreciate all the care and effort that went into the graphical options that might make the game one of the best ways to show off a new GPU or display.
Going diving in the menus to find the best combination of gameplay and visual options makes it clear that there is no wrong way to play Tetris Effect, and the game will be ready for whatever upgrade might come to your gaming PC in the near future. Tetris Effect is now even closer to being a perfect game.
Tetris Effect was reviewed on PC using a final “retail” download code provided by Enhance Games. You can find additional information about Polygon’s ethics policy here.