How Not to Make an iPhone Game: EA's Ten Dollar Tetris

Tetris isn't exactly the most ambitious project for a company like EA Games. That's probably why the company's iPhone port is just, well, overdone. The basic gameplay functions work well and the touch-focused controls are completely intuitive, though we'd be pretty disappointed to find any kind of learning curve for a Tetris game. A good Tetris implementation - one that would have been wildly successful on its own - wasn't enough for EA, who've loaded this port up with so much crap that it sometimes doesn't even run.

EA obviously wanted to use a bit of the iPhone's rendering capabilities, but the graphics are gaudy to the point of distraction. Starting or resuming a basic game takes quite while because of the layers of menus and loading screens, and the secondary gameplay modes and Magic Mode tools will be ignored by most. On our 3G iPhone, the app would often freeze at startup, a problem that has been reported elsewhere among iPhone and iPod owners. An update is forthcoming that should address stability issues as well as introduce a feature that allows you to draw your upcoming shape directly, but the app as a whole will remain the same bloated mess

It's really a shame too, because the touch implementation is fantastic. In a matter of seconds anyone will be comfortably rotating, placing and even flicking blocks around the screen, and the block placement preview is a welcome addition. These inspired features, though, are sullied by the showy, buggy execution. Anyone looking for a simple, clean port like Tris (from the jailbreak days. See you soon, Tris...) should probably pass on this US$9.99 monster as you can expect a decent competitor to pop up at a lower price point, if not for free. Also, there are already web apps that offer a traditional (though gestureless) Tetris experience in your browser.

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