Since the mid-1980s, Alexey Pajitnov groundbreaking classic "Tetris" has been killing time, distracting, and infecting the minds of gamers young and old. Available on just about every platform ever released, Nintendo's latest handheld, the 3DS, has somehow managed to go six months without the block falling puzzler. Fortunately, the Hudson developed, Nintendo published "Tetris: Axis" helps fill that void, and bring the franchise into an entirely new dimension.
"Tetris: Axis" takes the well-versed gameplay of "Tetris" and combines it with the newfangled technology of the 3DS. With over 20 different modes, "Axis" collects just about every version of "Tetris" ever released, adds in 3D, and takes advantage of the AR Cards to bring the game into your living room. Also included are both local (co-op and competitive) and online (competitive only) multiplayer modes, so you can show off your tetrominoe twisting skills to your friends, or people from around the globe. There's even a cameo from one of Hudson's biggest names, Bomberman.
So Much "Tetris"
For the "Tetris" fanatic, "Axis" offers a staggering number of different ways to play. Collecting different modes from various releases over the last few years, "Axis" includes variations on the traditional mode (Marathon, Computer Battle, Fever, and Survival), as well as an assortment of different variations culled from the "Tetris Party" games (Stage Racer, Shadow Wide, Jigsaw, Tower Climber, Capture, Fit, Bombliss Plus, Spring and Master) that have been released on the Wii and DS over the last couple of years. Needless to say, no matter how much "Tetris" you've played in your life, there's going to be something here you haven’t tried, and there's a good chance that you're going to enjoy it.
"Tetris" … In Three Dee
Whereas some games on the platform seem to shun all of the technology of the 3DS, "Axis" strives to take advantage of all the new bells and whistles that the handheld has to offer. From the almost constant presence of your dancing Mii during certain games, to the 3D and Augmented Reality modes (Marathon and Climber), "Axis" has been tailored for owners of this system. There are even Spotpass downloads included for new items for Fever mode.
Where's The Heart?
"Tetris" is one of the most released games of all time, and having been brought to the Western world on a Nintendo handheld, it's seems apropos that there are a ton of iterations available for all of their handhelds, particularly the DS. In addition to the Nintendo published "Tetris DS" (good luck finding a copy), "Tetris Party Deluxe" was released at retail in 2010 and "Tetris Party Live" is still available as a DSiWare download, all of which are playable on the 3DS. "Axis" is far superior when it comes to the amount of content included, but seems to lack the heart of "Tetris DS" and the price points of "Party Deluxe" and "Party Live."
For some reason, navigating through all the menus in "Axis" seems to be such a hassle. There are actually two main menus, which feed into a host of different submenus for all the modes, and going back and forth between them tends to get a bit confusing. While accidently starting a game that you didn't intend to isn’t the worst thing in the world, the interface design isn't very user friendly.
"Tetris" has been around for more than 25 years, and the fundamental gameplay itself hasn’t changed; the blocks still fall from the top of the screen, and you have to stack them at the bottom. While that's not a bad thing, in fact it's a testament to just how good the game is, it means that "Axis" probably isn't going to blow you out of the water. Collecting all of the variants in one place is a good thing, adding new ones is even better, but "Tetris" is still "Tetris," and you can pick it up for just about any device that can play games, large or small. 3DS owners definitely get some treats with this version, so much so that it very well could justify a purchase, depending on how much you want to be able to play 3D "Tetris" on the go. However, for those that may not own a 3DS "Axis" isn't going to be the game to convince you to run out and purchase a new system.