Tetris Effect: Connected Review

Screenshot of a level with hot air balloons in Tetris Effect: Connected
You'll experience all kinds of animated backgrounds as you play this game

Quick Info
Reviewed by: Mark Goninon
Developer: Monstars Inc., Resonair, Stage Games
Publisher: Enhance
Release Date: 18 Aug 2021
Time played: 5 hours


Tetris is one of those legendary games that has been around for quite a while now and just about everyone knows what it is: heck, even my baby boomer parents know what the game is and have enjoyed playing it in the past. There's a reason the game is #3 on our Choicest Games Top 100 list and the many versions of the game that have been released since the 1980s have been played by millions of people worldwide.

One of the versions of Tetris to be released in recent years is Tetris Effect: Connected which was released on Steam in 2021, over three decades after the original was released. Core gameplay mechanics are the same which involves sorting falling tetrominoes (shapes created using four blocks) in a way that ends up creating lines at the bottom of the screen. Each time you have a line that goes from one side of the screen to the other, you clear it. Clearing lines awards you points and the further you progress in the game, the quicker the tetrominoes fall. The aim of the game is to achieve as high a score as possible before the game ends which is when any placed tetrominoes touch the top of the screen. There is more to this game than classic Tetris though: Tetris Effect: Connected enhances the original formula through new gameplay mechanics (which feature even in multiplayer) and its unique experiment in form meeting function.

Screenshot of end of final level in single-player campaign in Tetris Effect: Connected
Speed Level 10 is hard man

It's Tetris, Jim, but Not as We Know It

When playing the single-player campaign in Tetris Effect: Connected you'll notice that there's an almost seamless blending of the music reacting to what is going on in the game. As you progress through the level, so will different passages of the background music. In fact, you'll even hear little flourishes whenever you clear rows. It almost feels like a rhythm game in this regard, but don't worry, in Tetris Effect: Connected, the music is reacting to what you're doing, not the other way round. The music also changes tempo at times because the level changes in difficulty as well: sometimes you'll be playing the level at a sedentary pace with some slow, calming ambient music and then other times, the level increases suddenly and you're frantically rotating and placing tetrominoes so you can survive the onslaught.

Screenshot of Single-player campaign main menu in Tetris Effect: Connected
The single player campaign is quite short even for beginners

I'm not a Tetris guru so I played the game on easiest difficulty but even then the later levels were a struggle during these fast passages meaning I had to retry the levels several times. What can potentially help you though and allows for some strategising is the ability to trigger the "Zone" mode. As you accumulate points you fill up your Zone bar which you can choose to trigger at any time. Once triggered, the game effectively pauses the dropping of tetrominoes for several seconds which gives you a bit of a breather and is especially useful during the faster, higher level passages of levels. Timing when you use these can mean the difference between passing a level or not.

Despite finding some of the later levels challenging, I did finally complete the campaign but it was over in a matter of hours. Thankfully there are more ways to play the game, even besides the usual Steam achievement hunting, Steam leaderboards or simply playing the game on a higher difficulty: there is also multiplayer.

Screenshot of Connected co-operative multiplayer mode in Tetris Effect: Connected
Connected is a co-operative multiplayer mode where up to three human players can take on an AI boss

Bringing a Whole New Meaning to Combo

Tetris Effect: Connected has competitive and co-operative multiplayer modes. It has the usual "Score Attack" modes where you compete with another player head-to-head (either in classic mode or a standard mode that has the mod cons such as "hard drops" and the ability to store a tetromino for later) and also a competitive mode that employs the new "Zone" mechanic (in this mode, you can also be a troll and dump all your garbage to the other player). My favourite mode has to be its "Connected" co-op mode where up to three human players can compete against an AI in what is like a series of boss battles. Every so often, the music changes and then all three boards are connected together as one huge board. There is potential here to do some serious damage to the AI boss as you co-operate in building long rows and huge combos; there is also the potential for huge stuff-ups too if players on your team don't know what they're doing but it's all part of the challenge.


If you want a modern, funky and artistic take on Tetris, Tetris Effect: Connected is the game to get. Despite the campaign being rather short there are plenty of activities to do in single-player and multi-player to keep you entertained for a while: the Connected multiplayer mode is especially recommended for those ever wanting to play Tetris as a co-operative experience.

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Special thanks to my friend and Choicest Games contributor Luke for gifting me Steam credit for Christmas 2023 which enabled me to purchase this game. Also thanks to my friend Danno for recommending I try it out.


  1. TET
    I will send you a challenge when I see you online!


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