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Tetris Effect is loaded with game modes designed to keep you coming back

Remixed modes and weekend challenges will help keep Tetris fresh

Tetris Effect - Effect Mode
Tetris Effect
Monstars Inc., Resonair/Enhance Games
Michael McWhertor is a journalist with more than 17 years of experience covering video games, technology, movies, TV, and entertainment.

Enhance Games’ stylish, trippy take on Tetris will come with a wide variety of modes tailored to appeal to your play style and mood, and those modes are designed to keep players coming back to Tetris Effect for weeks and months after the game launches.

The puzzle game’s main “campaign” mode, known as Journey Mode, will send players on a trip through 27 levels, each with their own musical and visual themes. Each level is crafted to tell a story and let players feel different emotions as they play, vice president of production Mark MacDonald said during a hands-on gameplay preview. Levels in Journey Mode will take players from the deserts of Egypt to the solitary darkness of the Moon, while others venture deep into the sea to let players swim with dolphins as they line up puzzle pieces.

Over the course of Journey Mode, players will unlock new levels, music tracks and in-game avatars, which they can use to represent themselves in Tetris Effect’s online environment. When they log in to the game, players will see their friends and other Tetris Effect players represented as glowing, particle-based avatars, like birds and manta rays, orbiting the Earth. More than anything, Tetris Effect’s visual representation of players as heavenly creatures expresses a sense of community, which is reinforced by cooperative challenges known as Weekend Rituals that players will be able to take part in on weekends.

Tetris Effect - Journey Mode map Monstars Inc., Resonair/Enhance Games

Those challenges, during which players can unlock additional avatars, are tied into how Enhance Games is developing Tetris Effect with replayability in mind. In addition to Journey Mode, a variety of so-called Effect Modes are included to add diversity to the puzzle-based gameplay.

Effect Mode is divided into four categories: Relax, Focus, Classic and Adventurous.

The Relax category includes modes like Chill Marathon, which tasks players with clearing 150 lines, but won’t give players a “game over” if their stack of tetrominoes reaches the top of the board. It will simply clear the screen, letting players start over. Relax mode also includes a quick play option and three themed playlists: Sea, Wind and World, each of which delivers cool visuals and ambient music.

Focus game modes are designed to make players concentrate on their gameplay and, according to Tetris Effect director Tetsuya Mizuguchi, “energize” players. All Clear mode gives players a series of specific puzzle shapes with which to clear lines. Each puzzle starts off easy, but quickly becomes tricky, as players race against a countdown clock. The Focus category also includes Combo Mode, in which players strive to keep a scoring combo going, and Target Mode, requiring players to clear specific blocks as they clear lines.

The Adventurous category is where Tetris Effect gets more playful. Enhance plays with the rules of Tetris with Countdown Mode, in which I-shaped tetrominoes automatically fall into predetermined spots, and players need to build their stack with that in mind. Purify Mode “infects” certain blocks, and players clear lines to stave off the infection. And in Mystery Mode, things get truly devious. The puzzle playfield will occasionally invert, or four-block tetrominoes will become three-block tetrominoes, or you’ll suddenly get seven of the same puzzle piece in a row, or a giant tetromino composed of dozens of blocks will drop in a nightmarish attack on the player. But Mystery Mode is also a blast, and where Tetris Effect’s silliest moments happen. It will be great to share with (or troll) friends.

Players will be able to try out Tetris Effect before it launches on Nov. 9 with a demo version that launches Nov. 1. The Tetris Effect Weekend Trial Demo will be available from the PlayStation Store and run through Nov. 5 — it will also require an internet connection to play, due to its limited-time nature. The demo version will include three Journey Mode stages and two Effect Modes: Marathon and Mystery. It will also include a Weekend Ritual community goal, a 24-hour global challenge that will unlock a special avatar.

In addition to a variety of gameplay modes, Enhance is including a number of options that will let players customize how Tetris Effect looks and plays. While the game’s visual effects are obviously a major draw for the game, some players may prefer a more traditional presentation. The game’s options will let players turn off some of the flashier effects, and let them choose classic colors for their tetrominoes, which is helpful for high-level play. And, yes, you can increase the size of the playfield if you think it’s too small.

Tetris Effect will hit PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR on Nov. 9. The game will cost $39.99. Get a look at the game’s various stages and themes in the gallery below.

The next level of puzzles.

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