Tetris, known for its block-falling, line-clearing antics, has never been associated with anything outside of its strictly puzzle focused gameplay. Now, imagine the various shaped blocks used in Tetris in the context of a puzzle platformer. That mixture is known as Tetra’s Escape.
Tetra’s Escape is a relatively straightforward puzzle platformer, where your goal is to get a tetromino to a portal. Tetrominoes are little block characters that waddle around to move. No matter how many tetrominoes you have in a level, you only need one of them to reach the portal in order to complete the stage. In most cases, you’ll only ever be able to get one of them to the end. This is because every level requires you to use your available tetrominoes to create paths to the portal.
There are a variety of colors of tetrominoes, but the colors don’t really mean anything beyond being aesthetic. The grey tetrominoes can’t transform, while every other color can. The shapes that a specific tetromino can transform into are shown at the bottom of the screen when you are controlling them. You can switch between tetrominoes by pressing L1 or R1. Not every tetromino can become the same shapes throughout every level, so you have to think carefully about your moves. For example, one of them might be able to only become a two by two block, while another can become a line of four or even an L shape.
The tetrominoes can only move, jump one block height, and transform. This means that you have to essentially make stairs to make it to some portals. As for transforming, once a tetromino has transformed, they are permanently that block and stay where they transformed. This is used to bridge gaps, create stairs, and make paths to the goal. That further shows how important planning is, because if you make a mistake concerning block placement, then you have to restart that level. Thankfully the levels aren’t long, so it doesn’t put you back that far. The only exception is with the bomb items that appear in later levels. After you pick up a bomb, you can use it to revert one tetromino back to normal at any time during that level. It’s a nice mistake fixer, although some levels require you to use the bomb strategically in order to complete them.
There are a few obstacles to consider in some levels, including ice, lava, and long falls. Ice makes your tetrominoes slide, lava kills them and turns them into a solid block, and any fall farther than three blocks also kills the tetromino and turns them into a solid block. So be careful to avoid these obstacles, and find a way to ease your tetrominoes down to where you need them. Once dead, there’s no way to revive them.
The game is broken up into worlds, each having eight levels to complete. Every level has three stars to collect, and if you collect them all, a cup appears to collect too. The stars and cup collecting is mostly for completionists, but it also helps unlock some bonus levels later in the game. The levels ramp up in difficulty as you progress, but they never get too difficult. I never had any frustrating experiences with the puzzles; in fact, I felt good every time I completed a level. The levels and worlds are bright and colorful, which keeps you in a positive mood while you play. Unfortunately, the game itself isn’t very long. I beat it in a few hours, but it was a relaxing playthrough that seemed worth the low price point. If you want a few hours of game time for a cheap price, Tetra’s Escape might be worth checking out.
Tetra's Escape is an interesting little puzzle platformer that takes its basis from Tetris. The levels provide a nice little challenge, but they never get tough or frustrating. You can beat most levels in a short time, causing the game to only take a few hours to beat. If you have a few bucks to spare for a couple hours of Tetris-based platforming, then you may want to try out Tetra's Escape.