Tetris — you don’t get any more classic than that. The evergreen game of directing a set of moving blocks to form lines while battling space and time has been a staple of gaming ever since its inception. While simple in its design, the game demands quick bursts of strategy as fast as possible, and so over the years, we’ve seen many attempts at multiple twists to the formula. I’ve never been a devout fan of the game per se, but it turns out a small, but significant change to the rather simple game’s formula was all that was needed to attract all of my attention to it.
Tetris Effect, released originally in late 2018, makes a significant change to the formula by adding in rhythm game mechanics. On paper, it sounds obvious yet we had never seen a twist like that to the franchise, at least not on the same level. In Tetris Effect, you move the blocks in accordance with psychedelic music in the background, with the visuals also doing everything they can to suck you into the experience with a myriad of particle and lighting effects. No longer is it just about placing blocks next to each other. The game now demands you to subconsciously place the blocks in a specific manner to achieve satisfaction by linking them with the music. You’re not just listening to the soundtrack, you’re actively participating in it, changing it with your skills.
The game recently got updated under the moniker of the ‘Connected’ edition, which adds enhanced multiplayer support. While the game got native support for the new Xbox Series console hardware, it has yet to see an update for the PlayStation 5. The existing version of the game on PS4 may be plenty enough, with its simplistic visual style getting enough juice from the last-gen hardware to push for near 4K and HDR effects. However, a native PS5 update could unlock the game’s potential even further, with next-gen features to further immerse players in the scene.
Over the last year or so I’ve put in about 30 hours into the game, which is impressive for me considering that’s about as long as big games like The Last of Us Part 2. This is obviously subjective, but it’s quite a big deal for me as I usually stick with the AAA crowd-pleasers. After beating the game’s campaign in the easy mode, I’ve been trying every night to beat the final level at ‘normal’ and man, it’s tough. When not breaking my fingers over its campaign, I hop into the game’s many event modes, which are basically curated playlists with specific themes and game objectives. There are modes to chill with, and modes where you can challenge yourself to marathon through entire levels without losing once.
Tetris Effect PS5 Features Wishlist
Playing the game on PS5, you get the basic rumble as present on the DualShock 4. While the inclusion of HDR is great, the resolution support could be higher. According to Backwards-Compatible (an amazing tool for cross-gen games) and NX Gamer’s analysis, Tetris Effect renders anywhere between 1512p and 1620p on the PS5, which is basically running in ‘PS4 Pro’ mode. On a 4K display, it looks sharp enough, but we know the PS5 can handle much more. Indie game The Touryst renders at an incredible 8K on the PlayStation 5, even though the console can’t display the resolution. After the frames are rendered, they are effectively downscaled to 4K as that’s the highest resolution output of the console currently, thereby acting as enhanced anti-aliasing. Tetris Effect is a game all about lines and edges, and I can only imagine the pristine presentation it would have with a higher resolution target combined with HDR.
Of course, just looking sharp is not enough and, as the new consoles have proven, a high refresh rate goes a long way in enhancing responsiveness. Currently, the game is locked to 60fps, but we know the PS5 console can support graphically demanding games at 120fps. Tetris Effect is already a very responsive game, and it’s even better in VR, but we’ve never seen the game run at 120fps outside of its PC port.
Complimentary PS5 features would include proper haptic feedback support on the DualSense controller and 3D audio, both of which would go hand-in-hand in creating the most immersive console version of the game possible, even more so than what the Xbox Series X offers. The PS5’s activity cards feature could be put to great use too by letting players jump directly into the game mode of their choice. Beyond all of these, I think a PSVR2 port would only be the logical next step, further reducing latency between players and the colourful blocks.
Honestly, this entire article here is me pleading developer Enhance to consider a proper next-gen port in lieu of the ‘Connected’ update.