As Facebook's Oculus Quest VR system approaches its one-year anniversary, its game and app collection continues to ramp up. The Room and Echo VR have been recent big games, but Tetris Effect maybe tops them both as a perfect instant VR fix. It's the best meditative Tetris game I've ever played, and the Quest version is the first mobile/handheld version of the game. But you need an Oculus Quest to play it.
There's a flow state to Tetris that never gets old. I've been coming back to Tetris 99 on the Switch over and over. Tetris Effect, which came out in 2018, is more of a personal experience. Designed by Tetsuya Mizuguchi (creator of Rez and Lumines, both games I love), it synesthetically blends music and images, and was one of my favorite games two years ago. The different sound effects become beats and tones in different themed levels. The gameplay speeds up and slows down. I completely lose track of time and reality. It's a far cry from the monochromatic original, single-handedly programmed by Alexey Pajitnov in Russia in 1984.
The Quest version of Tetris Effect handles itself remarkably well. I mean, it's Tetris. But the music sounds great, and the graphics are still trippy and effective, although a bit stepped-down from the PlayStation 4 version's level of detail. There are a number of challenges beyond the "Journey" 30-stage experience, multiple difficulty levels and a cool theater mode that lets you play any level like a musical instrument and just take in the vibes. It's a single-player game, though, so don't expect online multiplayer.
Playing with the Oculus Touch controllers works well, since there are console-like buttons and analog sticks. The vibrating effects in the controllers are particularly great. One thing I wasn't wild about was a lack of a direction pad... sometimes I triggered brick moves with the analog stick by accident. I learned to adjust.
Tetris Effect has become one of my favorite games to play on the Quest -- especially right now. It's a perfect little escape zone from everything else right now.
Tetris Effect is $30 on the Oculus Store. International prices aren't available, but that's about £25 or AU$50.
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