Fancy yourself a dab hand at Tetris, aye? After over 35 years, who doesn't? Stephen "Increpare" Lavelle wants you to put those skills to the test with his latest free experiment, Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät (Gravity Projection Device, Google Translate assures me). Released this week with the look of a quirky old German toy, Lavelle's devious browser game challenges you to four simultaneous games of Tetris, using the same set of blocks and a gravity-bending twist.
Adding three more boards, oriented around four compass-points, makes things a hell of a lot trickier than you'd think. Every new block appears in the centre of Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät charmingly old-fashioned interface, letting you adjust its position and rotation before sending it off. With each block hitting each board from the same starting point, you're forced to think of each Tetronimo in its entirety - sure, you might have a solid win on the right, but it'll cost you three lines on the top and bottom later down the road.
Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät does, at least, do away with any time pressure. Take as long as you like to figure out where to drop, free to adjust each piece to your heart's content before hitting submit. But that’s hardly a reassurance when there are often no good options.
This is a game of compromises. Getting even a single line clear is a tall ask, and usually involves temporarily writing off at least a quarter of the board. There's also no room for last-minute adjustments. Once you’ve hit submit, each piece will fall precisely as planned - with no time to sneak in a crafty T-spin during the drop.
Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät becomes a slower, methodical take on a classic with no place for perfectionism. Getting even a single point requires immense patience and planning never quite demanded by Alexey Pajitnov's 1984 original.
Indie developer and professional aviary milliner Jazz Mickle, who brought Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät to my attention, did thankfully offer some advice in case low scores are bringing some low moods.
getting a single point is very difficult!!!! imagine your score is multiplied by 1,000,000 and it feels better. i got 2 million points
— i'm jazz (@jazzmickle) January 29, 2020
By that logic, I've got my best Tetris score to date with a toasty four million. Nice one.
Schwerkraftprojektionsgerät is one of LaValle's many frequent free HTML games, all of which can be found on his official site. His last commercial game, geometry-hell rhythm puzzler Hypnocult, is also worth a shout for folks who thought Super Hexagon was a little too simple.