So here it is - "Next-Gen" Tetris. If you're an Xbox 360 owner you currently have 2 options for a Tetris game, Tetris Evolution and Tetris Splash on the XBLA. Don't bother with Splash.
So anyways, the reviews for Tetris Evolution weren't very positive, but I snagged it up as soon as it was released and was actually very surprised. It's possibly the best retail puzzle game on the Xbox 360, and one of my favorite 360 games overall.
Not much has changed over the years... in fact, nothing has. The standard game mode is Marathon which is your basic game of Tetris. You have lots of other modes at your disposal, but most of them just change the scoring and may add a time limit, etc. A lot of these game modes have been in past Tetris games such as The Next Tetris, Tetris Worlds, etc. No matter which mode you choose, you'll still be playing Tetris just like you did so many years ago. You'll also have multiplayer options for up to 4 players locally, or via Xbox Live.
So, how's the Xbox Live? It's about what you'd expect. It can be very nerve wrecking and fast paced, not to mention a helluva lot of fun. The only downside to this is the lag. It's not a constant thing or one that happens in every game but it does manage to lag sometimes and it can really cause frustration to both players (typically the loser) ... The game isn't worth it for Xbox Live play alone, but there's an abundance of other options and modes to play with and Xbox Live is a very nice addition that's definitely playable, but don't be surprised to see some laggy games.
There's also your "profile" .. You can set up your own profile in Tetris Evolution and choose from hundreds of different characters, or avatars. It doesn't really make much of a difference, but the customization is always fun and it shows up when you're playing on Xbox Live as well.
Good. Not great. Good. How can Tetris really look any better than this? It doesn't make any cheesy attempts for 3D Tetris, it's just Tetris in HD with some nice vibrant colors and adequate effects. You can choose from pictures in the background or videos. I prefer videos which are very nice HD quality ranging from the ocean to lightning and even animals. I think they add a very nice touch and are one of my favorite aspects of the game.
Super. I really dig the music. Some of it is very relaxing and I found myself nodding off while playing Tetris which, believe it or not, is a good thing. The sound effects are good enough. In all truth, you probably won't even notice them.. who plays Tetris for state of the art sound? Maybe some people would prefer to use their custom soundtracks via the 360 Dashboard but I'll stick with the in-game music anytime.
Considering you can find this game for $20 new, it's a steal. If you've never been a fan of Tetris this won't change your mind, but clearly it's the definitive version. It's loaded with lots of customization options and gameplay modes with downloadable content available on Xbox Live. It pretty much consists of music and backgrounds, but hey, at least it's something. How long this game will keep you busy depends on how big of a fan you are. This isn't the kind of game I'm always playing, but I will always keep it in my 360 collection and still play it frequently enough, usually just to get a quick fix.
Sure, you can download Tetris as freeware (or otherwise) on PC but it won't have the presentation or options that this game does. While it doesn't do anything original or break any barriers, it is the best version of Tetris ever and deserves a spot in any puzzle fans collection.