And, as you should have been able to guess, The Next Tetris
is all about gameplay. While it won't make you rethink any ideas you have about Tetris
in general, and while it doesn't offer quite as much 'stuff' as I would have liked, The Next Tetris: Online Edition
is nonetheless a solid version of the game.
The main attraction to TNT are the new rules that the game offers. Unlike most previous versions of Tetris, blocks can now be composed of different colours. These colours can stick to each other if they are the same, or slide down if they are different. It's a simple addition -- one that becomes intuitive as soon as you start playing the game -- but it can change the dynamics entirely. No longer do things progress one line at a time as you complete lines. Now things may fall all the way down holes because they don't 'stick', setting off crazy chain reactions that you only dreamt of in the original Tetris.
Instead of just letting you play around in a bin like old Tetris, TNT forces you to complete a goal for each level -- clearing a certain amount of trash that starts in the bin. This is in every Next Tetris game mode. While it's certainly a nice feature, I really do wish that the menus had a 'Standard Next Tetris' mode, where it's just you versus the bin a la old-school Tetris.
The two main single-player modes are Standard and Marathon. In Standard mode, you're given five minutes to clear three bins. The amount that the bins are filled depends on your Rank, which goes up every time you succeed in this game. As the bin fills up, the game gets more challenging. The Marathon mode has you going through a sequence of more and more cluttered bins, seeing how long you can last.
The two-player mode, and perhaps the main attraction of the game, uses the ranking system as well. The higher your rank, the more trash on the screen. This serves as an equalizer for when you're playing against a newbie -- the ranks tend to move towards a certain centre, and after a few rounds it becomes roughly 50/50 as to who will win. I wish that the difficulties were a little more granular, as sometimes the jump between two levels is scarily high. But those are all minor gripes.
There's also a Classic Tetris mode, which lets you play old-school Tetris. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to support two-player mode. Ah, well.
The Internet capabilities of TNT: Online Edition are nice, but in the end almost superfluous. There's something to be said about playing Tetris lag-free over the Internet, but in the end it's always a lot more fun to have someone in the same room as you playing it. It's certainly a nice feature, and one I wouldn't want them to not have, but it's not the reason to get this game.