Another successful variant on Tetris
I have stated before that Mario can be used on pretty much anything as some sort of quality-guarantee stamp, the beloved Italian plumber has been in so many different games and genres that context or consistency have long since been abandoned. It however seems that Tetris wasn't Mario's thing, so instead we have Yoshi and his buddies as the main theme of this game. The results are quite astounding, not only is the game packed with a cheerful atmosphere, but I would honestly say that I like this game better than the original Tetris because of this.
The music and sound-effects are the only components that weren't taken from the Mario or Yoshi franchise, though you'd be justified in thinking that they were. The brilliantly composed songs really fit with the aforementioned atmosphere this game has going and sound-effects were always a joy to hear. There are also some smaller parts that are new, such as a character who is practically a walking alarm-clock, but nothing really worth mentioning.
Now that we have the atmosphere down, the next step should be the gameplay. In Tetris Attack you pretty much play a variant on the classic Tetris, blocks rise up from the ground and you have to swap the positions of different blocks to form rows of three. Once you get a row of three or more, the blocks disappear and you get points, however, if the blocks reach the top of the screen, the game ends. This creates a very fast-paced puzzle game and especially in the versus-mode you'll have to think really fast and learn to think ten seconds ahead of what you're doing.
The versus-mode is probably the best part of this game, just like how it was with Dr. Mario. You and a friend both get your own screen and you need to make sure to keep your blocks low while also trying to sabotage the other player. Making combos will cause extra blocks to drop on the other players, which gives you even more incentive to think ahead of your moves.
Challenge mode is also pretty fun and has you going down a number of different worlds with increasingly difficult stages. It starts out pretty easy, allowing new players to learn how to play the game before been thrown into the faster levels. Difficulty is pretty good in this game overall, setting the game on an easy setting will have blocks appearing much slower and start you off pretty easily, while setting the game on a higher difficulty will have much faster scrolling and blocks may already be stacked up pretty high.
This game as a whole subscribes to the ancient "easy to learn, hard to master" philosophy. Almost anybody can pick the game up and play it fairly well on the first try, but to become really good at it, you will have to spend a lot of time with the game. If you go on Youtube and look this game, there is bound to be some videos of people showing off insanely fast moves and I have even seen one of them do it in real-life. It's pretty amazing to watch, to say the least.
I think the game would have benefited if you had the option to swap blocks around vertically. One opinion I have always had about puzzles is that the player should always be able to finish them. I hate it when I am trying to solve a maze in a newspaper and I make a mistake, I can't go back and undo it or something like that. I have also never been a fan of games like patience. Tetris Attack also falls for this trap because sometimes there are just no moves to make and nothing the game gives you can help you make some, been able to vertically swap blocks would have solved this.
In the challenge mode you get passwords, which are an ass to write down and I always end up losing the notes. A save-system had been used in games before and after this one, so why can't we have it?
The Bottom Line
Tetris Attack is a game that is very dear to me, it been one of the first games I ever played on this system and a title I wanted to experience again for a very long time. There are some minor problems, I am not really cool with only swapping the blocks around horizontally and the lack of a save-system is kind of annoying, but overall I don't let that ruin the game for me. I play Tetris Attack when I am feeling a bit down, because this game is made to make people smile. From it's overly cheerful presentation to it's enjoyable core-gameplay mechanics, Tetris Attack is a very good puzzle-game.
If you have a Super Nintendo and consider yourself to be a collector, then this game would make for a wonderful addition. This title is also very good for the Mario fans and the casual gamers, even children like my little sister seem to really enjoy this. If you don't like puzzle games are simplistic games to begin with, then this is likely not you thing though. Just like how these games are incredibly hard to review for me.