If a puzzle game fan were to look into buying a 3DS, they might notice something a little peculiar when perusing the list of upcoming games. Of all 70+ announced titles, there is nary a puzzle game to speak of. The closest thing would be an entry in the Professor Layton series, but even that is more like brain teasers within an adventure instead of the piece dropping & swapping action of games like Dr. Mario, Puzzle Planet League, or Tetris. And while there haven’t been any announcements yet, you know some puzzlers will eventually be coming. To ignore a whole genre on a device as huge as the 3DS is unthinkable. But as it stands right now, the 3DS is going to need some puzzle games, pure and simple.

One of the biggest puzzle games of all time is Tetris. Let me go out on a limb and say it’s inevitable that the franchise makes an appearance on the 3DS. After all, it’s shown up on just about every other Nintendo console to date including multiple iterations on the current DS – Tetris DS and Tetris Party DS. So what’s Nintendo going to do? Release the same old flat-planed Tetris on the 3DS? Not a good idea, I say. Tetris is inherently a 2D game. From its Game Boy origins over 20 years ago, the basic gameplay style hasn’t changed all that much.Tetrisphere for N64

With one exception.

Enter Tetrisphere. Released in 1997 on the N64, Tetrisphere is a variant on the Tetris we know and love. The gameplay involves shifting classic Tetris shapes across a spherical three-dimensional grid and dropping them into place, slowly destroying the layers of the sphere as you work your way to free a critter trapped in the center. Notice I said the play grid is three-dimensional? Kind of fits in with the 3D theme the 3DS is working with, doesn’t it?

Since Nintendo seems to be quite keen on either remaking old titles (Ocarina of Time) or revisiting old franchises (Kid Icarus) on the 3DS, why not bring back Tetrisphere? The game was great – it brought an interesting twist on the classic Tetris game, while keeping the core elements intact. The game never did see a sequel, and I think now would be the perfect time to bring it back; in full stereoscopic 3D this time, of course. If you’re unfamiliar with the game, or don’t quite remember what it’s like, there are plenty of clips up on YouTube. Now imagine what it would be like if that 3D sphere had actual three-dimensional depth, while the pieces popped out at you while you moved them around the play field, and exploding pieces flew out towards you!

The bottom line is this: the 3DS is going to need some good puzzle games, and since Tetris always seems to find its way onto every one of Nintendo’s systems, why not go the Tetrisphere route? The N64 original was loved by gamers and received generally favorable critical praise, earning as high as a 9.5/10 from GameSpot. I don’t know of any reasons why Nintendo hasn’t decided to bring this game back in some shape or form. It isn’t even available to download on the Wii’s Virtual Console. Now, with the upcoming release of the 3DS, I think it’s the perfect time to revisit this great game, whether in the form of a remake or a full-on re-visioning. Bring back Tetrisphere on the 3DS!


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