When Tetris Effect released two years ago, it was a great — albeit short — PSVR showcase that was more than befitting of Tetsuya Mizuguchi’s synesthesia ambitions and far exceeding any expectations. It was a beautiful audiovisual treat that I devoured in one sitting, VR dizzies be damned. The only thing missing? Competitive multiplayer.
“Wait…they couldn’t have just thrown in a watered-down 1v1 online battle mode? Not even local multiplayer?”
Enhance’s Mark MacDonald said it was because they hadn’t been “inspired for multiplayer” by the time Tetris Effect originally released in 2018.
B.S., I thought…just give us something.
Ah, I See…
After loading up Tetris Effect: Connected, I’m glad they waited for the inspiration to strike — and no doubt a perfect excuse to update the game with a months-long Xbox exclusive mode — since the titular’s multiplayer mode, Connected, is quite an impressive feat.
The new co-op mode pits you and two of your buddies, or match-made random players, against batches of A.I. bosses named after Zodiac astrological signs. “Area 1” features Pisces, Sagittarius, and Taurus, for example.
You start off working on your own separate screen, as per usual, but when the beat drops and the remixed “we’re all connected” line is heard, all three screens come together and, boy, does it become something special.
At that point, you take turns dropping blocks across a 3X “connected” screen. When it’s your turn, your blocks are solid and when it’s not, your blocks are transparent but clearly seen by others. Even without comms, there’s a language spoken via gameplay that’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced before.
Telepathic Among Us
It can be good: “You’re signaling that you want that one there on your turn? Ok, I’ll find a different spot.”
It can be bad: “Haha, you wish! I want the points for that line…get your own when you’re up!”
But there’s communication happening and it’s something to behold. The various emotions you go through the course of clearing the three bosses per “area” take you from not wanting to disappoint your teammates when you link up to euphoric when you contribute that last line clear across to take out the boss right before time’s up.
We also get the 1v1 competitive modes I clamored for with Zone Battle, Score Attack, and Classic Score Attack — all done up with the exceptional Tetris Effect wrap and inspired audio design, of course.
Zone Battle benefits from the campaign’s “zone” mechanic which grants you the ability for an ultimate final strike on the opposing player. You know, the take THAT as you send trash their way and see their screen fill up with tetromino blocks. Yes, the complete opposite of working together compared to what happens in Connected mode.
Tetris Effect: Connected is out on Xbox Series X/S and Xbox One and fully “free” with a Game Pass subscription. I suggest you go play it at your earliest convenience.