Also On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, 3DS
Developer: SoMa Play
Tetris Ultimate on the Vita works exactly as it should.
Under normal circumstances, that wouldn't be saying much. In fact, it might even be seen as damning with faint praise. I mean, it's Tetris, one of the most widely played games of all time. Thirty or so years into the game's lifespan, you'd think its formula would be more or less settled by now.
But these aren't normal circumstances. These are circumstances in which Tetris Ultimate's release on the PS4 back in the fall was…a little problematic, to say the least. You wouldn't think it'd be the sort of game that could be screwed up at this point, but the ample number of complaints would suggest otherwise.
Which, again, is why it's such a relief that Tetris Ultimate works so smoothly on the Vita. There's no glitching, no freezing, no tearing: it's the core Tetris game that people have been playing and loving for decades now, working exactly like it's supposed to. The blocks come down, you fit them in (or you don't), and as you make more lines you level up and the blocks start falling faster.
That's not to say this version is perfect, mind you. The online has been dead every time I've tried playing the multiplayer modes, so I can't vouch for how well they work — though, on the bright side, the AI is balanced enough that you can still play them offline and not have the gameplay suffer. Much more seriously (at least as far as I'm concerned), the music here is seriously weird. Rather than the standard Tetris theme, Tetris Ultimate features some weird remixed version that goes heavy on the melancholy. It's a little offputting to hear that iconic music chopped up and turned into something sad, but…well, that's exactly what they did.
All things considered, however, "The music is messed up" doesn't seem like that big a complaint; not when the alternative, apparently, is being a game that just doesn't work. Tetris Ultimate on the Vita won't redefine the game by any stretch of the imagination, but it also won't tarnish its legacy — and as one of the many, many people for whom Tetris is a seminal gaming memory, that's really all I could ask for.