Title: G-MODE ARCHIVES 33 TETRIS DIAMOND
System: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Price: 500 Yen
Release Date: 04/01/2021
Just like in the review of Zanac and Magical Drop DX I did, this is another in the mobile phone reissue series, G-MODE Archives! Now we see EA’s Tetris of all things make a grand return in the form of one of the Japanese mobile versions, Tetris Diamond.
Per the usual G-Mode Archives trend, you know the drill. Mobile phone border, blur filter options, and simple menus. For the actual game, Tetris Diamond doesn’t look all that bad, and in fact is quite colorful and smooth looking for a mobile version of Tetris. All the pieces are colored as they should, the game runs at a proper pace, and the pinkish background is easy on the eyesight. Even the music, while repetitive and not sporting the best version of the main tetris theme, is still pretty solid despite the limitations of the platform. Most things are in Japanese of course, but the menus are easy enough to navigate for a beginner to the language like me, that I feel that even someone who knows zero could jump into a mode with little issue.
If you’ve played any Tetris game before, then you know the drill: horizontal lines need to be cleared in order to score points, and the differing pieces can help you knock out anywhere from one line to four in a row. Avoid touching the top of the container, and survive until reaching either Level 15 (the end of marathon mode) or endlessly until you screw up. Tetris Diamond, despite its mobile heritage, doesn’t stray far from this template at all, and you have a decent amount of modes on offer.
The traditional marathon mode is back, with the usual hold option and standard gameplay, and there’s not much else to say here except that it’s more Tetris. Each level causes a slight speed increase, and sure enough, the max level gets incredibly fast, though not nearly as devilish as later speed levels in even the Game Boy entries would get, likely due to taking into account the limitations of phone controls at the time. As a result, here on Switch it can be pretty damn easy to clear marathon mode, and going for endless may lead to a stretch of boredom.
Luckily, that’s where the Diamond mode comes in, adding a simple gimmick to try and shake up the scoring aspects of Tetris. It plays like typical tetris, but every so often one of the pieces will be diamond colored. Placing it like a normal piece will just revert it into an ordinary one, but if you use it to complete a line, you gain even more points than a normal piece would. Thus, the strategy evolves to learning how to make use of these diamond pieces to gain those bonuses by using the hold command, and also building stacks to make up for sudden surprises. Like Marathon mode, this also has an end to it and an endless option, but it also has a 2 minute time attack: this is easily the most replayable mode by far, since it encourages speedy play and trying to rack up combos and points within the time limit, easily leading to it being my favorite mode of the whole package.
Last but not least, is the Puzzle Mode, where you have to clear an assortment of puzzle challenges. Pretty typical stuff, and not much else to add besides that it’ll keep you busy for at least a few hours. As per usual with the G-Mode Archives series, all score-based modes have a leaderboard, which I found to be incredibly useful and motivating for trying to better my scores in the time attack. Otherwise, it’s Tetris on mobile, and one of many like it out there.
In conclusion, Tetris Diamond may not be anything special, or even that noteworthy considering the other Tetris mobile games in existence, (some of which I wouldn’t be surprised to see on this service further down the line, in fact) but it definitely fits the bill of the G-Mode Archive service, and excels in that. While Marathon mode may be a bit too easy to complete due to the speed limits these games provide, the online leaderboards and other modes such as Diamond and Puzzle offer more than enough replay value to still be an engaging import, and for 500 yen, this is easily one of the most import-friendly offerings in G-Mode’s service.
I give G-MODE ARCHIVES 33: TETRIS DIAMOND a 7 out of 10.