Monday, 8 February 2016

V-Tetris (Virtual Boy review)

Developer: Bullet-Proof Software
Publisher: Bullet-Proof Software
Released: 1995
 

V-Tetris is a puzzle game from the same developers as Yoshi's Cookie (1993, NES) and it was only released in Japan.

 
The gameplay tasks you with rotating singular falling blocks and lining them up to create lines. There's three modes to select with the first being Classic Endless where you keep clearing lines until your blocks stack up to the top of the screen. Classic Standard has ten levels with six rounds each; here you need to clear 25 lines to complete the round before moving onto the next. These two modes play similar to each other but while the controls are responsive the action is uninspired as there's nothing you haven't seen a million times before. Even the stereoscopic effect is almost non-existent and it's possibly the worst example of 3D on the system; there are some static and animated backgrounds to choose from (including an aquarium with swimming fish) but they feel completely tacked on. The action takes place in a tiny window in the centre of the screen with lots of unnecessary space reserved for your score and number of lines. While the narrow view isn't a huge issue there are times where lining up your block is trickier than it needs to be as you can't always see which column you're lined up with. Also, the pacing is odd as the difficulty is moderate for a long time before suddenly becoming a nightmare with blocks falling at a faster rate than you can react. The final mode is Loop Tetris which is the most interesting option available; here you can rotate the play area with the triggers and push each block around the corner. It's an interesting way to play as you can constantly change the column structure depending on what block is about to fall. However, once the speed increases it becomes too unwieldy and eventually exposes itself as a gimmick. The most disappointing aspect of the game is that there's no battery back-up so you can't save your high scores.
 
V-Tetris is okay for a quick game or two but then it simply gets boring as it doesn't do anything to take advantage of the hardware and the options are limited. In my opinion, there's no reason to play this over Tetris (1989, Game Boy) as that version does pretty much everything this game sets out to do but in a much better fashion.
 
 
 
Random trivia: A release was planned for North America but ultimately it was cancelled.

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