4 Overall Score

Kinda like Tetris | Electrical nodes puzzle twist is neat | Low cost | Simple & quick to learn

Input latency | Looks like trash | Sound is so bad it’s automatically off | It’s boring

One of my favorite games of all time is Tetris. So sue me, I grew up playing games on a Tandy 1000, where Tetris and Pipe Dream were staples of my daily gaming time. And unlike Bouncing Babies, I did not grow sick of (or have nightmares about) the former.

So naturally, a title that markets itself as “Tetris meets pipe puzzle mechanics” has quite a bit of appeal. Well, in the marketing copy, anyway. Plus, puzzle titles are nice diversions, games you can pick up and play for a few minutes on break before getting back to work (or falling asleep). The thing is, there are many of these on mobile, but we’re seeing plenty find their way to the Switch because it just makes sense. The eShop is right there, and the portability of the Switch (plus its role as a dedicated gaming platform) means these puzzle games can reach an even wider audience.

That said, the proliferation of puzzle games as a result of the above means it can be difficult to find a gem amidst the duds. Powertris certainly sounded like it was going to be a gem, for all the reasons I’ve already mentioned. And if you’ve read other reviews from me, you probably can already sense where this is going.

Powertris is, most definitely, Tetris plus pipe puzzle mechanics. No Gravity Games wasn’t wrong about that. It is an apt description. The pipes, in this case, are actually little electrical nodes that are meant to connect on either side of the screen to conduct energy (and not allow liquid to flow, there’s the difference, see). It makes sense. There are also special items that occasionally drop to explode sections or do other things, and frankly, that’s it. That’s all there is to it.

As an aside: I’d like to tell you what those other special items are, but in the half hour I spent playing this title, only three special items dropped. I played maybe five or six rounds. Possibly seven. Three special items. I’m not joking. What were those three items?! Two were the exploding kinds, the third, I’m not sure. Maybe if it dropped more than once in thirty minutes, I’d have been able to figure it out.


Also, this game looks like sh*t. Well, maybe that’s harsh. Well, it deserves it. Is that a professional thing to say? Probably not, but I’m not really sure how else to describe it. It looks like a mobile game that someone hammered out as a project in their game programming class. Like, mid-semester. Look, there’s nothing wrong with simple games. They can be effective and fun; we’ve recently reviewed a few that we enjoyed very much. But Powertris feels cheap, careless, unpolished. Like someone left their project to the last minute, scrambled to complete it in an overnighter, and handed it in before collapsing on their keyboard.

Even the sound is so bad, the game is set to have it automatically off when you start playing. What game does that?! One that knows it’s terrible and is hoping you don’t notice.

There are also issues with input latency, which brought several of my games to a halt much faster than they should have. This is unacceptable for a puzzle game where timing matters. More than once I shouted at the Switch in frustration (I might have had a lot of caffeine that day). And to be completely honest, Powertris just wasn’t fun.

That’s really what it comes down to. I can forgive simple and unpolished and bad sound design if I’ve had fun. I did not have fun. I got frustrated, annoyed, and was extra disappointed because the game promised Tetris + Pipe Dream levels of enjoyment, and delivered a bland, boiled white potato of a game.

Yes, it costs next to nothing on the eShop, so you could check it out if you really want to, but you could also go buy a coffee and donut from your local coffee and donut franchise, and which one would make you happier in the end?

That’s what I thought.

*Nintendo Fire received a copy of this game in exchange for review.

What do our review scores mean? Check it out here. http://nintendofire.com/2012/03/21/what-do-the-review-scores-mean/


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Author: Faith View all posts by
Faith likes games and books and cake and writing and Lara Croft, not necessarily in that order. She also thinks a Skylanders cartoon show is a really, REALLY good idea...

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