Tetris Effect review | Mesmerising

The classic puzzler with rhythm-action elements? Tetris Effect is truly mesmerising…


For a lot of people, Tetris is meditation gamified. The steady flow of blocks falling and slotting together, to the point where the focus on patterns bleeds into other parts of life thanks to a psychological phenomenon known, funnily enough, as the Tetris effect.

It’s this trance-like state people slip into while playing that Tetris Effect leans heavily on in a masterful blend of play, music, and visuals. Describing Tetris Effect as ‘just Tetris’ would be a bit like describing a cake as ‘just flour and eggs’.

The meat of the game is the Journey mode, a collection of playlists featuring everything from abstract points of light dancing along with gentle electronic music, to endless skies full of floating windmills. The music is often dynamic, relying on the movements of the blocks to turn you into a conductor, and Tetris your orchestra. It isn’t particularly long, at just over an hour, but that is the perfect amount of time to sink into the rhythm of the game and take in the sights and sounds. Despite it being primarily marketed as a PlayStation VR game, Tetris Effect can be played perfectly fine on a standard TV without losing much of the immersion. In fact, not having a bulky headset on your face may offer even less resistance to entering the flow of Tetris.

For players seeking more of a challenge, the aptly named Challenge mode makes it abundantly clear that the Tetris foundations under all the bells and whistles of Tetris Effect are as strong as they’ve always been. Alongside the dreamscape stages, Challenge Mode adds in a number of modifiers and new objectives, such as clearing 140 lines, full-speed, planning around a predetermined piece drop for a maximum score, and, of course, meditation modes where failure isn’t the end. It all shows how satisfying and responsive the game’s stacking is without lowering the skill ceiling to accommodate newcomers.

There is one new addition to the Tetris mechanics, and that is ‘the Zone’. Once a meter has been filled, it’s possible to entirely stop the onward march of the blocks while the music and colour wash away. It allows you to rack up massive combos as completed lines shoot to the bottom of the board rather than disappear – a seamless new introduction to the Tetris playbook that avoids feeling too overpowered.

It’s always Tetris at its core, but seeing how many ways an idea we’ve been playing with since 1984 can be twisted to fit into these stunning, entrancing scenes is unfalteringly impressive. Tetris Effect shows a true understanding not only of the intricacies of Tetris, but also how people feel while playing it, and capitalises on both to make one of the most mesmerising iterations of the classic to date.


The dynamic soundtrack and how it responds to the block movements is fantastic, turning what was already an amazing soundtrack into a jam session between the
game and the player. If you’ve played Chime, you’ll appreciate what Tetris Effect does.


A stellar audio-visual feast, Tetris Effect is so much more than just a new Tetris game.



Genre: Puzzle
Format: PS4 (tested) / PSVR
Developer: Resonair
Publisher: Enhance, Inc.
Price: £34.99
Release: Out now

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