Tetrisphere feels like the type of game that might have been bought over to a fair few consoles – at least the Playstation – but no. It’s an N64 exclusive, and maybe as a result hasn’t been remembered by many.
It hasn’t even been re-made, or ported to the Virtual Console. This is the type of the game that will probably be forgotten with time, if it hasn’t been already.
It’s a shame, as it’s not actually that bad. In fact, you could argue that it’s a hidden gem.
One thing you need to enjoy this though, is to forget Tetris when going into the game. Despite taking up half of its name, that classic puzzler is a completely different experience to the one served up here.
If to emphasise that this a ‘brand new’ idea, the game starts by slinging thumping weirdo funk into your ears. This is a game with ATTITUDE, and it wants to make sure you’re aware of this fact.
This effect is ruined somewhat by the cutesy robot characters with googly eyes that you see throughout the game, but whatever.
Also unlike Tetris, you’ll need to go through the tutorial if you’re going to understand the game. Because boy, is it complicated. Or so it seems at first.
Basically (and I say ‘basically with caution), you place different blocks onto a 3D sphere, and have to match up the same tiles with each other in groups of at least two. Due to the 3D element though, you can do this in terms of tiles on top of each other, or side to side.
Once you grasp this, and it takes a few minutes, you can start destroying large amount of blocks at once. You’re helped by the ability to drag blocks where you want – as long as there aren’t any in the way of course – and the helpful fact that the shadow of the block you’re about to place changes colour if it will start a combo.
It’s hardly a pick up and play title. But credit to developer H20 Interactive, they tried to squeeze as much as they can out of the concept.
There’s a two player mode (strangely, none of my friends want to play the game), and a solo option with plenty of options.
Rescue mode has you opening up a hole in the sphere to rescue a tiny robot, Hide and Seek has you finding items hidden away in the play area, and there’s Time Trials and VS the CPU modes to round things off.
Considering that the game is fairly common (I picked mine up in Gamestation’s BOGOF deal for £1 when the shop was actually good), i’d say it’s worth checking out.
H20 Interactive made this and the rather good New Tetris, also on the N64, so they clearly knew what they were doing in terms of puzzlers (actually, they only made 3 games – the other was the divisive Aidyn Chronicles).
It’s not as brain meltingly addictive as Tetris, but at least it offers up something unique – and is therefore miles better than tripe such as Magical Tetris Challenge.