Tetris 99 is the surprising new entry to the Battle Royale genre and it’s actually very good. Recently announced and shadow dropped following the Nintendo Direct, there’s more than meets the eye from the developer, ARIKA. From the get-go it’s appearance may seem weird and laughable, I mean it’s Tetris Battle Royale after all, but don’t let it deter you. This is easily one of the best in the genre and is a much-needed change which we deserve.

Tetris 99 is the Battle Royale We Deserve


We all know what Tetris is, so I won’t go into too much detail there. It’s the standard puzzle game that gamers have come to love since 1984. However, there’s a nice twist to the gameplay we’ve all come to know. There’s only one mode, so far, and it’s a 99 player online mode where you’re pitted against each other for survival. Well, at least it feels that way. From the start, you’ll notice a “Watch Out!” warning with lines pointed at your screen, as seen below. This means that all of those lines represent another person aiming to eliminate you. It’s a random occurrence which changes every time but can mean everything in how long you’ll last.

Much like other Battle Royales, eliminating other players is key. While other enemies are aiming to take you out, you’re also able to aim back at those enemies or at different ones. Clearing lines and obtaining a true Tetris (clearing four lines) adds grey blocks to the player you are attacking. As this is going on, they’re attacking you too. Once a player has been taken out, you’ll earn a badge bit and pick up their badge bits as loot. These badge bits can add up to four whole badges that create a 25%, 50%, 75%, or 100% grey line to make it tougher for opponents. Utilizing this is key for staying alive later in the game. It’s a bit difficult to comprehend and it takes a bit of getting used to. A tutorial should definitely be included because there are quite a few things going on and can be confusing.

Tetris 99 is the Battle Royale We Deserve

Unique in the Genre

As I previously mentioned, you’re able to eliminate other players and pick up their loot. This is something seen in other games like Fortnite, PUBG, Blackoutand even Apex LegendsHowever, Tetris 99 does it in a way that is incredibly different. Obviously, there’s no shooting so that’s different but it’s how it’s done that makes it stand out. Players can become the winners of each respective matches by just playing normally. Utilizing the elimination system does help, but ultimately can be glossed over whereas others in the genre need this to end up in the first place.

Not only this but it’s an all-new type of game mode. Who would’ve thought that Tetris would make a big splash in the Battle Royale scene? It isn’t just a normal shooter with different elements not seen in other titles nor does it have a way for cheap deaths (fall damage, bad drops, no weapons, running from the circle, etc.). This is much easier to approach and is perfect for pick-up and play sessions. You won’t have to devote long periods of time to place high since each match can be upwards of 5 minutes, although they can feel much longer. There’s still that sense of dread and anxiousness when nearing the top so you’ll definitely be at the edge of your seat.

Tetris 99 is the Battle Royale We Deserve

Nintendo Switch Online Made Better

One downside in this game though is the lack of a squad or duos mode. It would have been great to jump into a match with a few friends and take on other groups. Complains have emerged regarding a lack of none online modes. To that, I say buy Puyo Puyo Tetris on the Nintendo Switch or, if you have a PlayStation 4Tetris Effect. Each of these offers the more traditional single player experience with a plethora of other modes, so there’s no need to knock it there.

It does, however, enhance Nintendo Switch Online. Many have seen the Online portion of the Switch as lacking in a lot of respects. Smash Bros. Ultimate has a weak approach to online play, Splatoon 2 doesn’t offer cloud saves, but, despite that, you can play NES game. Besides this, you can get some in-game t-shirts for your inkling but there really wasn’t much else. Now, you can download Tetris 99 for free with your subscription so there’s something unique. Both Xbox Live and PlayStation Plus give users free monthly games, discounts, and some exclusive in-game items, but neither of these has an exclusive Battle Royale Tetris.

Tetris 99 is the Battle Royale We Deserve

Players of all types can jump into a game of Tetris 99 and have loads of fun. It does take a bit of practice to perfect the formula, which would be made better if a tutorial mode is later included. Trial and error is the way to go about things but it’s so fun to do so and isn’t as frustrating as a shooter could be. Tetris 99 is simple to learn but difficult to master and it shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s a nice change of pace and gives a breath of fresh air to the genre.

If you’re a fan of the Battle Royale genre, this is one to check out. All Nintendo Switch Online members should download this title and play a few rounds because it makes the subscription incredibly worth its price. This may end up opening the door to other Battle Royale possibilities and I can’t wait to see what’s next, but for now, I’ll be listening to the cool tunes of Tetris and aiming for that number one spot.