Nintendo has released a new variant on the classic game Tetris: Tetris 99, a battle royale variant of the puzzle game pitching players against 98 other competitors.
Announced during this month’s Nintendo Direct presentation, the game is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and is free to play for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers.
Tetris 99 stands apart from other battle royale games, as it is far from the typical FPS entry like PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds or Apex Legends.
Instead, Tetris 99 is a puzzle game that plays mostly like its classic predecessor. Different shapes fall from the top of the screen to land at the bottom and are cleared when a complete line is created. Reach the top and it’s game over, so the player able to continue making matches and clearing the board for the longest is crowned the winner.
The more strategic aspect in Tetris 99 is the ability to target other players, giving them set lines of pieces at the bottom of their board that they must work to clear. This happens every time the player is able to clear two or more lines on their own screen. The more lines cleared in one go, the more additional lines sent to the specified player.
Choosing the best target in Tetris 99 can give players a clear advantage, as bonuses are awarded for each knockout achieved. These come in the form of “badge parts” that can eventually add up to doubling the number of lines sent to opponents.
A knockout will also award the attacking player with any badges previously obtained by the target. With some careful planning, players can quickly rise up the ranks to victory by stealing power-ups from other players. It’s a tactic reminiscent of more traditional battle royale games in which players scavenge from fallen combatants.
Nintendo is yet to release the number of downloads of the game, but with nothing else like it on the market and the inherent nostalgic value, Tetris 99 might just catch on.