Tetris Effect is one of the most surprising VR games I’ve played in so far. It’s taken a classic 2D puzzler, and re-imagined it into a multi-modal experience in VR with dynamic difficulty synchronized to music, three layers of haptics, and immersive virtual environments that change progress through a sequential journey. Enhance’s Tetris Effect was originally released for the PlayStation VR on November 9, 2018, and a version for the Oculus Quest was released on May 14, 2020. I’ve played it each day since the Quest release, and I’m really impressed with the range of difficulty within the various effects modes, especially with the Master Level, which apparently has only ever had one person in the world ever complete before.
I had a chance to sit down to sit down with Enhance’s Mark MacDonald to unpack the experiential design and backstory for how Tetris Effect came about. He’s the Vice President of Production & Biz Dev of Enhance in Tokyo, Japan, and so he helped to oversee many aspects of the development process. He confesses that it’s not an intuitive leap that Tetris would make an amazingly compelling VR title, but despite not checking off many of the normal boxes, it’s managed to create a very compelling multi-modal experience that fuses visuals, sound, and haptics inspired by the concept of synesthesia. He talks about the experiential design process, some of the deeper intentions of the game, and how Tetris is a very difficult game to try to tune. After sinking more than 70 hours into the game over the past month, then I can attest that they’ve been able to create a surprisingly compelling immersive experience that has some new twists and turns into one of the best-selling games of all time.
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Here’s a Twitter Thread where I shared some of my first impressions:
I've had a chance to dive into Tetris Effect on the Quest, & it's one of the most addictive combinations of gameplay matched with music + haptics + ambient environmental modulation.
It's just so viscerally satisfying & played for hours & hours this past week.
Highly recommended! https://t.co/gNhfh5VPQ2
— Kent Bye VoicesOfVR (@kentbye) May 14, 2020
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