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Feature Article

Best Games Of 2018: Tetris Effect

Free your mind.

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Over the next few days, we will reveal what we believe are the 10 best games of 2018, organized by release date. Then on December 19, we will reveal which of the nominees gets to take home the coveted title of GameSpot's Game of the Year. So be sure to come back then for the big announcement, and in the meantime, follow along with all of our other end-of-the-year coverage collected in our Best of 2018 hub.

Tetris is time-tested, ubiquitous, and as a result, it's usually taken for granted. Developer Enhance Inc. is here to remind us all that Tetris is a game worthy of our appreciation in 2018, and more importantly, that it has plenty of untapped potential.

In simple terms, Tetris Effect is a rhythm-game tinged version of the classic puzzle game. You aren't forced to act in time with the music, but every time you flip a tetromino or complete a line, the game will produce a sound at the nearest-neighbor beat. So even though you aren't intentionally filling in the notes of a song, you do contribute to the music. With enough experience you may find yourself trying to play along, however, acting out and flipping puzzle pieces just to hear the rapid fire instrumentation and appreciate your mastery of the game's pacing and demands. This of course happens simultaneously as you race to clear lines, consequently harmonizing Tetris Effect's two halves.

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The moving soundtrack encompasses a wide range of musical styles that may be unusual to your ears but are nonetheless infectious. The procession of one rhythm or orchestra to another is handcrafted to make you feel something different from level to level, and the push and pull of it all is unquestionably effective. Some stages help you relax and experience momentary bliss, while others drive you so hard and fast that you practically need to catch your breath before jumping into the next challenge.

Inspiring moments like these are great in isolation; when experienced for prolonged periods of time, playing stage after stage in the game's Journey mode, they accumulate into something greater. To succeed at Tetris Effects' later levels requires almost subconscious planning and execution, where thinking too hard may cause unintentional obsession with misleading opportunities. It sounds almost counterintuitive, the idea that you should think less to achieve more, but that's exactly what Tetris Effect is trying to draw out of you, and exactly why you should give yourself up to the feelings it tries to instill.

It's an unforgettable experience that marks a new chapter for one of the medium's most familiar and beloved properties, and when people talk about Tetris from now on, Tetris Effect will undoubtedly be used to reference the original game's timeless appeal.

We often think of VR games as means to travel to new worlds or embody fictional characters. Tetris Effect leverages the inherent immersion that comes from shutting yourself off from the outside world to induce synaesthesia, combining sight and sound into a seamless composite. Until you've experienced it for yourself, it's difficult to understand just how powerful this effect can be, but it's the secret sauce that makes you good at the game. All it takes to locate that mindset is a little persistence and an open mind. The more you can isolate your senses, the better, so you should absolutely play Tetris Effect with PSVR if you have the option.

Tetris Effect is unquestionably the prettiest version of Tetris there is and it uses that aspect of its personality to enhance the core draw of the puzzle game within, making it easier for you to find that unspeakable bond between mind and game. It's an unforgettable experience that marks a new chapter for one of the medium's most familiar and beloved properties, and when people talk about Tetris from now on, Tetris Effect will undoubtedly be used to reference the original game's timeless appeal.

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doc-brown

Peter Brown

Peter is Managing Editor at GameSpot, and when he's not covering the latest games, he's desperately trying to recapture his youth by playing the classics that made him happy as a kid.
Tetris Effect

Tetris Effect

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