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Tetris for Android: Androtris, Block Puzzle, Blocks and Tetris X

As Alexey Pajitnov’s most famous game, Tetris, celebrated its 25th birthday last week, EA announced that various incarnations of the classic puzzler had been downloaded over 100 million times since 2005.

To celebrate this and in honour of the four squares used to make up each of the game’s shapes, we took a look at four of the most popular Tetris apps available on the Android Market.

It’s worth noting that none of these apps have the famous Korobeiniki tune (aka ‘the Tetris theme’) playing in the background. To amend this you could always hum or whistle it to yourself on the tube but you might get some funny looks.

Androtris Free (Free) – Androtris is a raw version of Tetris. The graphics are colourful, bright and very basic. Controls are super simple and can be configured in the options menu. We think the Tetris experience is slightly more authentic if you’ve got an Android phone with a Qwerty keypad but it’s easy enough to play with a trackball and touchscreen.

There are two basic modes in Androtris, Marathon (single player) and Versus Android, where you compete against your phone. Be warned, your phone will play to win but it is possible to beat it.

At the time of writing we could only find the free version of Androtris, which is a shame as we really wouldn’t mind paying for the full version.

Block Puzzle Lite (Free) Similar to Androtris, Block Puzzle Lite boils down Tetris to the bare essentials. It would be nice if there was a paid-for version as then you wouldn’t have to put up with the rather unsightly adverts scrolling along the top of the screen which spoil the gaming experience.

All the controls are on the screen – you get left, right and down and a rotate key. The lack of a defined border for the playing field sometimes means that you make some annoying mistakes. Missing that narrow gap which would see you clearing four lines in one go with the long thin piece is one of the most frustrating things ever.

Block Puzzle Lite is first tetris game created for Android, according to developer Bartolo Illiano who is also responsible for the app ‘Android Facebook’. Fittingly you can post a Block Puzzle Lite high score as a Facebook status, showing off your l33t sk1llz to all your friends. We really wish there was a pro version of this as it would remove the annoying ad banner at the top. A clearer playing area and more responsive controls would be nice too.

Blocks (€0.99/85p) – Blocks is like a smartened up version of both of the above games in terms of presentation. You get a much clearer playing field which features a grid, making it very easy to line up the pieces as they fall. The playing area is bigger than your typical Tetris game which means that building up lines for that big four-line KO takes longer. The touchscreen controls respond well but unlike Androtris you can’t pause the game and there’s no way to boast about your prowess on Facebook like you can with Block Puzzle Lite. There’s also no versus mode so you can’t play against your phone.

Tetris X ($1.99/£1.22) – Tetris X feels like a retro gaming experience with it’s NES-esque fonts, pixellated visuals and frustrating controls. You can control the game via the touchscreen but because it’s so unresponsive you really have to jab at your Android phone in order to simply move one of the pieces. If you’re running Android 1.5, then you’ll need to download and install the Java/J2ME Runner (free from Android Market). It’s not terrible but we’d pick one of the above free Tetris games over Tetris X any day.

[Image from Flickr user totalAido]