PAX Prime 2014: Tetropolis

“It’s a tetroidvania!” OK, so someone has crossed the falling block genre with the platformer’s metroidvania level design to create, well, something. Here’s the cool part: the entire metroidvania level is itself made of tetrominoes, and when you get your platforming character to that tetromino’s control room, the gameplay zooms out to the world map, and you can rotate or move that section of the level. Think of it like editing the minimap in Super Metroid, four rooms at a time. Doors are highlighted in this view, so by connecting doors you can enter new places, or old places from new directions, at will. But wait, it gets better. Many objects within the levels are subject to physics, so when you rotate their section of the level, you can watch the stuff fall and bounce around in realtime from the map view. Tetropolis makes use of all of this for some pretty interesting puzzle design. So if platforming and puzzles get you going, I have found the perfect game for you.

The only thing I personally don’t like about Tetropolis is the platforming character: you’re a tetromino. Not even an anthropomorphized tetromino, not a tetromino with a face on it, nothing. There is no emotion here. Do tetrominoes care about puzzles? Do they care about other tetrominoes as one falls into a flamethrower? Do tetrominoes dream of Minecraft sheep? Although you can switch between different tetrominoes with different abilities, it doesn’t prevent me from feeling thus: all in all, I’m just another brick in the wall.

Ron Newcomb


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