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Blockbusters: Games for Tetris lovers

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal | July 9, 2014
I'm a huge Tetris fan. There's just something about the pure adrenaline that rushes through your veins when you've lined up the perfect Tetris combo, and your next piece is a straight polyomino. You know what I'm talking about. Heck, my mobile ringtone is an electronica version of the Tetris theme song.

Although Puzzlejuice sounds much more complicated than traditional Tetris, it's actually not — it just has one extra step. However, it is a challenge to try to find words while simultaneously fitting tetraminoes in place, and even the most seasoned Tetris and word-game players will find Puzzlejuice exhilarating.


Not all block-stacking games involve tetraminoes and shape matching. Shibuya ($1, iOS) is a simple-looking block stacker that focuses on color matching.

In Shibuya, all blocks are the same size and shape: Wide, solid bars. They fall from the top of the screen empty, with no color assigned to them. In the upper left corner, small boxes display a color line-up, including the current color. Tap on any empty box to fill it with the current color, and then tap on another box to fill it with the next color. The goal is to put colored boxes next to each other and then tap on color groupings to remove them from the screen. This means you'll want to choose your color assignments strategically, because you can only remove groups of two or more.

Shibuya is easy to pick up and play, and once you have the hang of it you can choose from five different speed classes (slow, normal, adept, fury, and gentle rain), depending on how difficult you want the game to be. The game also looks and feels nicely polished, with a cool, futuristic soundtrack and smooth gameplay. If you're looking for a block stacker that doesn't feel like a Tetris clone, this is it. 

Puzzle Prism 

Remember Blockout, the 1989 "3D Tetris" arcade game that has you manipulate 3D tetraminoes as they fall into a pit? Puzzle Prism ($1, Android; $3, iOS) is a lot like Blockout: A fast-paced, block-stacking game that adds and extra dimension (literally) to traditional Tetris.

In Puzzle Prism, you have an angled side view of a slowly spinning tower of blocks — think Jenga, but with tetraminoes. New pieces appear above the tower (and spin in tandem with the tower; the spinning is there so you can view the tower from multiple angles before making a decision), and can be rotated by swiping left or right, flipped upside down by swiping up, and accelerated toward the tower by swiping down. The block flipping, which is the main difference between Puzzle Prism and Tetris, takes just a moment or two to get used to if you've never played before.

Puzzle Prism is one of my favorite Tetris-like games: It's easy to pick-up, very fast-paced, and completely addictive. It feels a little nostalgic, with simple, neon-colored graphics and an F-Zero-esque soundtrack, but gameplay is smooth and modern and perfectly suited to the touchscreen. The game has four modes — standard, time attack, dead line, and extra — which are unlocked (slowly) as you play.


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