A Kinder, Gentler Tetris? How!?

[Image courtesy of Eurogamer.]

If there was a Mount Rushmore of puzzle games, Tetris would have to be up there. It made the Game Boy one of the most successful mobile platforms in gaming history. It has been played on every continent AND aboard the International Space Station.

Everyone has played Tetris at one time or another. In fact, it’s so ubiquitous that you’ve probably not only played the original, but some variation on the classic version as well.

And there is no shortage of options on that list. Heck, Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov himself created several famous variations on Tetris, like Hatris (stacking similar hats to clear them from the board), Faces…tris III (where you create famous faces Tetris-style), and Welltris (where pieces fall down all four sides of a cube, and the bottom part is the communal playspace).

[A game of Welltris in progress.]

So what else is out there in the world of Tetris?

There is four-player Tetris (Familiss), Tetris with bombs (Super Tetris), Tetris in a cylinder (V-Tetris), color-specific Tetris (Tetris 2), 3-D Tetris, 3-D Tetris in a sphere (Tetrisphere), speed Tetris (20G or Tetris: The Grand Master), Tetris with earthquakes and meteors (Tetris Elements) and many many more.

As you can see, many of these variations are designed around making the classic game harder. One that we’ve discussed in the past, a 4-directional Tetris variation called Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät, was a personal favorite for a long time.

But easily the most diabolical version was created eleven years ago, and it was aptly named.

Hatetris.

Hatetris is designed to give you the worst possible piece on every turn.

hatetris 1

After figuring out what to do with multiple S pieces, Hatetris throws me a curveball with an I piece.

hatetris 2

Then once I’ve placed the I piece, they flip the script on me with a Z piece. Diabolical.

For the record, after about 30 minutes of play, my record was 3 lines.

hatetris 3

That is brutal.

And after the year or so that many of us have had, who needs brutal?

lovetris 2

Thankfully, the spiritual opposition to Hatetris has appeared for everyone to enjoy. It is, of course, called Lovetris, and it is designed to drop the exact piece you need to clear a line.

lovetris 3

Now, I know what you’re thinking. After a few easy ones, doesn’t it lose its flavor?

On the contrary! It actually offers some new challenges if you approach it from a different direction.

The designer warns that setting up a tetris — eliminating four lines with a single piece — can be difficult when the game is geared toward clearing single lines. That’s one possible challenge for you to solve.

Another that I quite enjoyed was trying to arrange the pieces so I cleared the board entirely. Can you arrange the pieces so that, once you’re done, you’re left with a clean slate to try over with?

A third option is to purposely drop five or six pieces in a row randomly — or even in a tower in the center of the screen — and then work with the program to dig your way out of your predicament.

lovetris

[Even with the AI’s help, this is a doozy to clear.]

Amazing that it took 37 years for someone to come up with this.

So what do you think, fellow puzzlers and PuzzleNationers? Will you be trying out Lovetris, or enduring Hatetris for a spell, or trying out one of these many variants? Let us know in the comments section below! We’d love to hear from you.


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Forget 3-D Chess and Try 4-Directional Tetris!

[Image courtesy of Eurogamer.]

Tetris is the ultimate puzzle game. If you somehow haven’t played it, you’ve at least heard of it. The brainchild of Alexey Pajitnov conquered the world, not only making Nintendo’s Game Boy a bestselling video game platform, but turning millions of puzzlers into gamers and gamers into puzzlers as well.

Those iconic little Tetromino shapes are instantly recognizable, and the music can still induce panic and nervousness in players decades after the first time they heard those infamous notes.

And it serves as a brilliant template for ambitious game designers and puzzlers to add their own twists to the Tetris formula.

The basic concept is simple: try to arrange the constantly falling Tetromino blocks so that they make complete lines in the play area. If they do, that line disappears.

Of course, just because the concept is simple, that doesn’t mean the game is. As your play area fills up with Tetrominos, the music speeds up, amping up the tension. And as you progress through different levels, the pieces fall faster and faster. You need quick reflexes and ice in your veins to handle the higher difficulty levels.

Thankfully, you only need to worry about the blocks falling from one direction.

But a new variation on Tetris quadruples the gameplay area in a very devious way.

Say hello to Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät, Stephen Lavelle’s take on Tetris. In Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät, Tetromino blocks appear in the center of the play area, and you control where the piece is placed in each of the four directions.

No, the blocks do not fall automatically, nor is there a time limit that forces you to place the blocks quickly. Yes, you can spin each piece before placing it.

But each block goes into all four play areas simultaneously, and in the same position on the opposing sides.

schwerk1

As you can see, the straight piece lands flat in the east and west grid spaces, but standing upright in the north and south grid spaces. You have to work along each axis to find the best case scenario for all four of your play areas.

Yes, you’re trying to complete lines in four different directions at the same time. The T-shaped Tetromino will land in four different arrangements (flat, on one side of the T-bar, on the other side of the T-bar, and on the long end of the T-bar) with a single keystroke.

schwerk2

It’s mind-blowing how challenging this makes the game, but it’s challenging in a good way.

I mean, in a regular game of Tetris, you need several dozen completed lines to conclude a level and feel like a champion. In Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät, you feel like a genius if you can get two completed lines in each of the four play areas before the game is over!

Just as addictive as the original, yet offering a totally new twist on the familiar style of puzzling, I foresee a lot of office hours being lost to this engaging four-directional experiment in space efficiency.

You can try Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät for yourself here, and check out all of Stephen’s games here. (He also has a YouTube channel featuring some of his creations.)

After 35 years, it’s cool to see there are still new ways to make Tetris feel fresh again.


Thanks for visiting PuzzleNation Blog today! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to stay up-to-date on everything PuzzleNation!

You can also share your pictures with us on Instagram, friend us on Facebook, check us out on TwitterPinterest, and Tumblr, and explore the always-expanding library of PuzzleNation apps and games on our website!