With literally hundreds of different versions of Tetris released during the past 22 years, it takes more than an aquarium background for yet another iteration of Alexey Pajitnov's classic puzzle game to stand out. Unfortunately, that's really all Tetris Splash for Xbox Live Arcade has to differentiate itself, and it's not enough to justify the $10 price tag.
As far as the gameplay goes, Tetris Splash offers a very stripped-down, very vanilla Tetris experience. In the single-player, there are two options: a standard marathon mode and a mode where the challenge is to clear 40 lines as quickly as possible. There are a few multiplayer options, with support for two players locally and up to six players online, where you can play team games, ranked games, or straight free-for-all games. For what it's worth, the game handles as well as any of the better Tetris games released during the past few years. But without any interesting gameplay variants or the ability to really tweak the experience beyond such basic stuff as the appearance of ghost pieces or whether you can use the hold field, this is just regular old Tetris. And it feels tired.
Rather than including features that would actually have an impact on the gameplay experience, it would appear that much of the development efforts for Tetris Splash went into the game's background theme. The background looks like a typical domestic fish tank, complete with a bed of purple rocks, various underwater flora, and some fish. Inexplicably, there are a number of options for customizing the appearance of your aquarium, as well as the types of fish that are floating aimlessly about inside it. Furthermore, there's already a huge amount of premium downloadable content available for Tetris Splash, all of it revolving around the customization of your aquarium.
It's hard to imagine the chain of events that lead to the production of a Tetris game with just the most basic gameplay options possible and a huge focus on fish. And yet, here we are with Tetris Splash, which is more robust as a screensaver than it is as an actual game.