Is it possible to follow up a game that's been called "perfect" by veteran game journalists, and even voted the second-best game of all time (right behind Super Mario 64) in a respected magazine? Tetris' creator, the "famed Russian inventor" Alexey Pajitnov, hasn't stopped trying. He's spent the decade since Tetris' debut creating weaker and weaker (hence forgettable) incarnations of his "perfect" game - Welltris, Faces: Tris III, Bombtris. Tetris Plus was converted from a Japanese coin-op, and not conceived by Pajitnov, but it might as well have been. This game seems like something he'd be desperate enough to try at this point.
The Puzzle mode is Tetris Plus' main gameplay draw. As promised, a little professor marches back and forth as the spikes threaten to crush his tiny head. Does this make Tetris Plus more fun than the original (because it transforms Tetris from a game of pure skill into a game with goofy "puzzles")? Of course not - especially since most of these puzzles are easily solved by even intermediate players. This, in turn, makes the Edit mode useless: After all, it's not likely that the average Tetris player will design puzzles that are any more difficult than the ones created by the programmers. That leaves Classic Tetris mode. Can't mess that up, right? Wrong. The control is way too stiff: It feels as if you're fighting the control pad to get the pieces into place. By contrast, most other versions of Tetris make it feel as though you're gently guiding the blocks.
Graphically, Tetris Plus hasn't improved at all from the original Tetris coin-op game. The visuals would be so-so for a 16-bit game, but in the 32-bit world they're almost inexcusable. The sound effects and music are happy-bouncy-fun, which means most players will turn the sound off in under ten minutes flat.
Tetris Plus is a feeble attempt at reviving a legend, and is the LEAST enjoyable falling-tile game I've played in a very long time. Players who want a title that improves on the classic Tetris gameplay should consider Capcom's superior Super Puzzle Fighter IIX instead.