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Tetrisphere (USA)

Genre

Puzzle

Console

N64

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N64

Tetrisphere (USA)

Tetrisphere is a puzzle video game developed by H2O Entertainment and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64. It was released in North America on August 11, 1997, and in PAL regions in February 1998. The game, originally named Phear, was slated for release on the Atari Jaguar in early 1995, but was reworked into a Tetris game for the N64 after Nintendo obtained its publishing rights.

Tetrisphere is a variant on Tetris in which various shapes are shifted across a wrapped three-dimensional grid resembling a sphere, and then destroyed. The objective of the game changes depending on the mode but generally consists of removing layers of shapes to reach the playing field’s core. Despite very little domestic advertising, Tetrisphere enjoyed moderately good sales and a mostly favorable critical reception. Reviewers praised the game’s originality and the musical score composed by Neil Voss.[4]

Gameplay

Gameplay screenshot of Rescue Mode, where the player must destroy layers of bricks in order to reach the sphere’s core and free a trapped robot.

In most Tetris titles, a player’s score is incremented as a result of completing “lines”, where a row of brick pieces that is without gaps is removed from the 2D playing field. This both earns points and removes the completed row, making room for further pieces. However, in Tetrisphere, the goal is instead to remove bricks by forcing three of the same type of piece to touch as a result of a “drop”. A drop is achieved when any brick falls, either as a direct result of the player releasing the currently held brick or when the brick which supports it from below is removed by any method. When three bricks of the same type touch, this triggers a “combo”. When a combo occurs, the three bricks will glow brightly and implode, removing themselves from the field of play. Any other same-shaped blocks which are touching that combo will also be removed in a chain combo. For example, if a player has lines of nested “Z” pieces, and then drops another “Z” directly on top of one of the nested “Z”s, the one which was dropped will cause the piece below to implode, in turn causing all identical pieces touching that piece to explode, and so on. The only exception is that the pieces involved (including the original three) must abide by the rules which dictate which pieces are “touching”. For example, any two matching pieces which are stacked must be exactly on top of each other, if they are both to be removed. Laterally, each piece obeys the rules specific to its shape. As an illustration of this point, “O” pieces (a 2 × 2 square, colored blue) and “I” pieces (a 3 × 1 or 1 × 3 rectangle, colored green or yellow) must have full contact on one side with one full side of another piece of the same shape, but all other pieces are considered “touching” if any part of them is in contact with another of the same shape.

To facilitate in combos, pieces can be moved by “sliding”. A piece can be moved by sliding when the player lines up the shadow of the current piece they’re holding with the same-shaped piece on the sphere. A mismatched shadow and piece cannot be moved this way. Pieces moved with sliding can move through and destroy crystal pieces, but they cannot pass through other pieces themselves.

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