Developer(s) – Nintendo R&D1, TOSE & Nintendo
Publisher(s) – Nintendo
First published and brought to consoles in 1993 by Nintendo following the immense success of the 1989 classic designed by Dr. Alexei Pajitnov, Tetris 2 was met with an equal amount of acclaim by critics, with Electronic Gaming Monthly going on record to say that any fans of the first game will surely be satisfied with the sequel as well. Personally, I have a much more dim view of the second game than many others, which may seem like semantics when first thought about, since it’s easy to assume that the second would simply play out more or less identically to the first, but it doesn’t, and there are some key reasons why I think much less of this than the original game.
Graphics – 6/10
Whilst judging the game on it’s visuals, it highly depends on which port is being played. The Game Boy version consists of very little in terms of presentation, and has a much less catchy soundtrack than it’s predecessor. Though games like this are not primarily played for it’s graphics, the original game did have a few different pieces of scenery throughout reminiscent of the country that it came from, but there’s nothing like that in the second. The NES version of course has colour to it, since the Game Boy is a monochromatic system, but there is unfortunately the same lack of additional conceptual design.
Gameplay – 6/10
Nintendo decided to not only port the game to their consoles, but re-invent it as well; in my opinion, resulting in a very underwhelming final product. The objective of the second game is to eliminate blocks pre-emptively fixed on the game board by matching them up with blocks of the same colour or pattern using the falling tetrimino shapes. I found it simply to be dull and unsatisfying compared to the first game, which was designed by a man who understood the very concept of addiction, having studied it for a long time.
Controls – 6/10
Because the tetrimino shapes are structured much differently to those of the first game, yet with the game itself functioning on largely the same control scheme, to me, it doesn’t work anywhere near as well as in the first game. It simply highlights how overly hard the developers tried to fix something that wasn’t broken, and complicated something that did not need to be complicated at all.
Originality – 6/10
Although I can commend Nintendo to a certain extent for trying something new with an overwhelmingly popular gameplay formula, something which by default would have been extremely difficult to even begin to undertake, let alone top, it tuned out to be the wrong decision, and it made for a game that fell well short of the quality of it’s predecessor in my opinion. The idea was passable when it was implemented in Dr. Mario, since it was much more simplistic having the player use two colours at a time, but if Gunpei Yokoi was involved in any way, shape or form with the second Tetris game, it wouldn’t stand out as being among his best works the way I see it.
To summarize, Tetris 2 is just about playable, but nowhere near as fun or as addictive as what the concept had been before that, or what it would be following it. The formula would be vastly improved on with the release of Tetris Plus, but the direct sequel to the biggest one-hit wonder in gaming history certainly failed to live up to the set standards in my opinion.