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Gamer Tuesday

May 22, 2012

Pap the Disney Gamer's Highlights: Magical Tetris Challenge

Developed by: Capcom

System: Nintendo 64

In the 80s, there was a game that took the video game industry by storm: Tetris. Designed by Russian developer Alexey Pajitnov, Tetris is a puzzle game which involves falling stacks of blocks. The main objective is to stack these blocks together in order to make a neat line that will be cleared. With every stack of blocks cleared up, the score gets higher. The concept is very simple to understand. But what made is such a sensation back then was that it was quite a challenge to master. With every level cleared, the speed would go up, forcing the player to think faster and to watch out for odd blocks that may ruin the strategy. Nintendo cleverly packed this game with the Game Boy, making the handheld a very popular one because of it. Since then, Tetris has been released and remade countless times across hundreds of gaming platforms. Even cell phones feature a variation of the classic Tetris game.

Not even Disney could resist the undeniable charm of the game. Teaming up with Capcom once again, in the late 90s they released Magical Tetris Challenge. Featuring Mickey Mouse and friends, Magical Tetris Challenge is the classic game of Tetris re-imagined with a Disney theme. Players can choose to play as Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Goofy and Minnie Mouse in a story mode in which they go up against Pete and fight against his nefarious deeds. This was one of the few attempts to bring a storyline to the Tetris game. While not exactly up to par with other video games and Disney stories it did add a lot of character to what is usually a very straightforward game.

If you have played Tetris before, then you know how Magical Tetris Challenge plays. Story Mode and Endless Mode, however, have some slightly different rules. Players go up against another character in a race to clear as many lines as possible. This being a duel, players can launch 'attacks' onto the other players in the form of unwanted lines that clutter the opponent's space. Magical Tetris Challenge also introduces the Magic Meter. The more lines a player clears, the meter will build up. When it is full, blocks will fall that will fill up the spaces on the space, giving the player big points. Of course, if what a player wants is just a classic game of Tetris, Magical Tetris Challenge has it as well. Up to two players can participate in the game's multiplayer mode.

As it is always the case with any Disney video game, the look and feel of the game must have that classic Disney feel in order to make it authentic. Magical Tetris Challenge is a game that opted out of highly detailed graphics in favor of something more warm and classical. The characters have all been rendered as 2D drawings in order to pay tribute to their animated beginnings. The Tetris board features a pair of eyes to give it a cartoony feel to the game. The music also manages to be just as upbeat and whimsical as the graphics. Once again, it is a game that doesn't push the boundaries of the system's graphical powers, but it doesn't need to due to the laid back nature of Mickey and friends as well as the game of Tetris.

In conclusion, Magical Tetris Challenge doesn't aim to fully reinvent the concept behind the very popular puzzle game. But the charming Disney theme along with the familiarity of the game of Tetris makes it one worth trying out if you are a big Disney fan. Sometimes you don't need the most complex gaming concepts in order to have fun.

 

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