I’m a life-long fan of the iconic line-making game Tetris and I was excited to see it come to VR with the release of Tetris Effect in 2018 on PlayStation 4. I’ll admit, however, its move into VR didn’t really settle right with me. That is, until I played it through on Oculus Quest.
Don’t get me wrong, I adored the entire soothing journey on PS4 despite the availability of a PSVR headset sitting right there. I also tried Tetris Effect from the Epic Games Store on Valve Index for a bit before I decided that it just didn’t feel right, and never went back. With PSVR, I knew I didn’t want to see the screen door effect instead of the beautiful environments in crisp high definition. With Valve Index, I knew the cord was snaking across my living room to my seat on the couch. I was vaguely aware that at any time my relaxing moment in VR could be cut short by one of my kids tripping across the wire.
But on Oculus Quest, I found a comfy spot in the shade outside and immediately melted into a nirvana state in VR.
This is the third time we’ve reviewed Tetris Effect in VR and, in summary, everything about the last two reviews holds up here on Quest.
From the PSVR review:
“So, yes, this is indeed Tetris… in VR. But, by applying its unmatched strand of spectacular visual and musical flair, Enhance creates something with a powerful, compelling and entirely unexpected hypnotism to it. For some of you, that’ll be enough to lay down the cash without a second thought. For others, I could wax lyrical until my face goes blue and you still wouldn’t reach for your wallet. But for those of you teetering on the fence? Go on, make the jump; this is a really, really great way to celebrate an all-time great.”
And the PC VR review:
“…all of this is just slightly sharper inside practically every PC VR headset over PSVR. If you own an Index, then the winning combination of incredible screen clarity and crystal-clear off-ear headphones will bring Tetris Effect to a new level. But even on Rift S, Vive or otherwise, it’s an appreciated step up.
It’s still the case that some levels are a little harder to focus on in VR, but never to a point that should cause any concern. Tetris Effect in VR is a transcendent spectacle, a thriving biome that takes on a life of its own. Rarely has VR felt this organic. High praise for a fresh take on a gaming staple perhaps but play a level and I’d dare you to disagree with me.”
So how does the jump to the standalone hold up? Well, that’s an explanation told in two parts. First, it seems some of the visual effects that flourished so well elsewhere were sacrificed for the Quest port. You can see it in the comparison video below with things like smoke effects that seem far less detailed on Quest.
Second, though, I wouldn’t call these sacrifices dealbreakers — in fact, I would still call the Quest version the definitive way to play Tetris Effect in VR for one simple reason. Feeling the wind of an outdoor breeze on your skin while particles fly by and drums beat near your head is a moment of serenity you’re not likely to find indoors. Playing Tetris Effect that way is a real prospect with an Oculus Quest — and an utter joy — that would be very hard to achieve with a console or PC tethering you to the house.
One other note about the Quest port that’s worth keeping in mind is that the developers recommend wearing headphones and that’s certainly the right call. Nonetheless, the built-in audio solution on Quest held up relatively well with Tetris Effect as compared with some other Quest titles.