Overview: Tetris 99 (Switch)


Okay, by now, many seasoned gamers have played some version of Tetris. There have been countless variations of Tetris, many with only a few small twists to the formula. The latest version, Tetris 99 features game play where you compete against 99 other players at once. This concept came from other online games where a large number of players are competing with each other at the same time, such as the game Fortnite. Tetris is a well-known enough game, that giving even this version a proper review is quite difficult. In this case, I will give you, the reader a breakdown of the game and its features, plus finish with a quick impression, so you can decide if this game is worth it for you.

While I have not played Fortnite or other battle royale games, I am aware there is potential for even skilled players to be knocked out early in a 100 person match. Before I played Tetris 99, I was wondering how the garbage blocks that players can attack you with would work. I was worried that if any player attacks, then everyone will feel it, and plenty of players would get knocked out very quickly.

Luckily, unlike 3-4 player Tetris, you aren’t targeting all players at once when you clear enough lines, so the potential for early game chaos is somewhat limited. In Tetris 99, each player is usually targeting only one player. You can manually target the player of choice (you can see small representations of every player as you play), or use one of four presets. These presets include random, KO’s, badges, and attackers. Random has you choose a target at random, though it might favor players who did well in their last round. KO’s has you target a player close to losing. Badges has you target a player that has scored the most KO’s, and attackers allows you to target all players that are targeting you, which is the only way to target multiple players. The attackers preset also increases the garbage block output you send to all players, so it is somewhat beneficial to get targeted by two or more players.

A quick look at Tetris 99’s gameplay. The tiny squares on the sides are all your opponents.

Now, my overall impression of this game is that it is still Tetris. You get most of the same game play, with the occasional bad run where you get a lot of garbage blocks all at once early in the game. I have noticed that the game seems harder a few weeks after release, though I’m guessing this is due to more players knowing how to play and have a better understanding of the targeting system. I personally have yet to win a single match, though I did get second place once (incidentally, my worst seems to be around 90th in a really bad run).

The game currently is light on features. There is only Tetris 99 mode, the option to tweak the controls, and to view your stats. There is a player leveling system that seems to do nothing other than gauge how much you have played, and that is about it. The game is free and only requires the subscription to Nintendo Switch Online to play. There currently aren’t any paid features, so no DLC or micro transactions to worry about. There was even a recent competition called the Maximus Cup where the top 999 players could win 999 gold points (equivalent to roughly a $10 discount on a digital purchase). Games in this competition simply played like any other game, and you just had to win as many games as you could during the time it was running. There are likely more of these competitions coming in the future, so if you play this game, keep your eyes open for more opportunities.

Overall, Tetris 99 is a fun time, and the massive number of competitors only gets in the way on rare occasions. Sure, it is unlikely that most players will win any given game, but luckily, each match is relatively short, so it is easy to get back into the game and try again. It is easy to get addicted to Tetris all over again, even if you don’t win. In short, if you like Tetris, you will probably like Tetris 99 too. It can justify the online subscription just to play this game, and is a good deal overall.

And that was my impression of Tetris 99. How about you? Do you like this game? What was your best placement? Worst placement? Did you get any wins? If so, how many times have you won? Do you have a favorite version of Tetris? Let me know in the comments below!


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