Playing Tetris on a Touchscreen
Think playing Tetris on a touchscreen device won't measure up to your expectations? Here's why you should give it a try.
I will openly admit right off the bat that I used to be a Tetris snob. As far as I was concerned, there were two ways to play Tetris. One way was to use a video game controller, such as a joystick, directional pad, or thumbstick. The other was using a keyboard and mouse. I simply couldn't fathom any other way you could seriously play Tetris. Man, was I wrong about that!
When I heard Tetris was available on smartphones and tablets, I had no idea how it would work. Could you actually play Tetris with any level of quality through a touchscreen? It didn't seem possible to me. I felt like something would be lost in the translation, or the controls wouldn't be able to stand up to more traditional offerings. I'm here to tell you, after spending many hours playing Tetris on my iPhone, I'm definitely a convert.
To tell you the truth, I think I was scared of Tetris on a touchscreen. I’d been playing Tetris with traditional controls for so many years that I didn't think I could handle moving to something new. I knew my snobbish approach to the whole situation wasn't doing me any favors, and at worst, it could be keeping me from having a fantastic Tetris experience.
So I decided to put those silly notions aside and dive headfirst into Tetris from EA on mobile devices. EA’s Tetris app gives you two ways of controlling the Tetrimino action. Both are quite different from one another, and each offer up unique experiences. Out of the two available, it seems like Swipe mode will be the one most try out first.
Swipe mode works pretty much as you'd expect it to. Since you have no physical controls to use on mobile devices, Swipe mode has you dragging your finger left and right on the touchscreen to move your Tetriminos. You barely have to move your finger at all to slide the pieces to where you want.
Obviously you have to rotate them as well, which is done by tapping anywhere on the screen. To hold pieces, you can touch the Hold Queue box on the top left-hand side of the screen. Finally, you can slide your finger down on the screen to drop in Tetriminos gently, or swipe your finger downward to do a Hard Drop.
Photo Credit: ©Electronic Arts
I honestly didn't think a touch screen would allow for the precision it does, but what I experienced blew me away. It's obvious the developers put a lot of time into tweaking the Swipe controls here. In Tetris, you live and die by how you rotate and slide in Tetriminos. Without spot-on controls, you don't stand a chance!
After a few rounds, my touchscreen skills were able to match up with my usual controller performances. Everything here works, and it works ridiculously well. There's another control option available in EA’s Tetris app called One Touch, and it's one I never even considered. One Touch mode doesn't just simplify how you play Tetris, it teaches you the many ways to approach gameplay as well.
One Touch mode is unlike anything I've ever seen in a Tetris game. With this option turned on, all you have to do is touch a single location on the Matrix to drop a piece in. The major difference here is, at the bottom of the Matrix, you can see silhouettes for all the potential places you can slot in a Tetrimino.
There's also a cycle button, which you can hit to see another round of places where a Tetrimino can drop to. When you see a spot you want, you physically touch that silhouette on the Matrix, and the Tetrimino plops right in. One Touch mode is a hidden gem in Tetris from EA. Even for someone who's been playing Tetris for years, One Touch mode is invaluable in what it teaches you.
It shows you how many different ways you can place a Tetrimino! There were so many instances where silhouettes showed me options I would have never even considered, let alone thought of to begin with. It's honestly been an eye-opening experience. Playing One-Touch mode has helped expand my own gameplay style, and given me new ways to contemplate Matrix options for all Tetriminos.
Tetris, no matter what platform you play it on, is a game for anyone. It's always been that way and that’s what makes the game so approachable. This is only made more true with Tetris on touchscreen devices. The touchscreen approach is handled fantastically, and certainly turned me into a believer.
I am man enough to admit when I've made a mistake, and my preconceived notions about a touchscreen version of Tetris were completely off the mark. I'm glad I decided to give it a chance, because now I can enjoy a quality Tetris experience literally anywhere I go!
Want to check out EA’s Tetris app for tablets and smartphones? Download it for free today!