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Official Tetris for Android finally arrives in the Market

After forcing Google to pull down the many Tetris clones that populated the Android Market earlier this year, Tetris Holding’s official game has finally arrived.

Virtually identical to the version that’s been available on the iPhone for a couple of years now, Tetris for Android offers two main game modes, Marathon and Magic.

Marathon mode sees you having to clear a set number of lines each level, with the game ending when you clear 150 lines (or sooner if you fail).

Magic is more akin to classic Tetris, i.e. a series of levels which increase in speed and difficulty but introduces power-ups to shake things up a bit. The vice tool freezes the game momentarily giving you a breather (essential when things start getting hairy) and the bubble tool allows you to blast away at individual bricks.

Tetris for Android phones boasts some lovely visuals. The black game menus and fields unfold gracefully on top of bright backgrounds which gradually shift between colours.

The gameplay also translates to a touchscreen very well; you tap on either side of the screen to rotate shapes and move the blocks into position by dragging them across the field with your finger. You can either slide blocks into place by dragging them downwards (a ‘slow drop’) or execute a ‘fast drop’ for more points by performing a downward flick.

While the graphics are very nice and the game plays well we found that it forced closes on our Nexus One a fair few times. This is a very early version of the game (v0.0.25) so hopefully an update will fix this bug soon. It’s also rather big – 8.23MB – so we’ll be keeping an eye out for an Install to SD option for Froyo users.

While power-ups are a nice addition, there’s no need to re-invent the wheel. The main attraction of Tetris is what made the game so popular in the first place; the simple joy of connecting four-block shapes together, watching them disappear and patiently waiting for the big long one to arrive so you can clear up the field. Tetris for Android is billed at $3.99 in the Android Market which currently works out at around £3.35.

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