Tetris 99: Big Block DLC Switch Review

Tetris 99 is an online battle royale mode that comes free with your Nintendo Online subscription, but for $10 more you can get an offline experience against the computer and an infinite “marathon” mode to better fit that Tetris experience. I felt like purchasing Big Block DLC, because for the casual fun I’ve had playing Tetris 99, Nintendo deserved the money. Plus, a future DLC for later this year is included in the purchase.


Battling offline against the computer lets you select from several different difficulties, the first three feel easy enough, but anything over that will make you sweat toward the end. It makes me wonder if I’m actually playing against real opponents with the standard online Tetris 99 mode. Battles against the computer will increase your experience to unlock new icons to represent yourself on the scoreboard.


The marathon mode lets you go to 150 or 999 lines and if you go for 150 lines, you’ll have your choice of starting on any level up to fifteen. It seems like the 150 lines would end on level fifteen anyway, given the 10 lines per level in Tetris. This is more of an infinite or classic Tetris mode where it’s just you playing Tetris alone. Having a set goal feels enjoyable enough and 150 lines feels like the right amount of challenge for someone who is sane about Tetris. Completing 150 lines seems to take me 12+ minutes and that last minute can get stressful. For everyone that’s clearly crazy or far more intense, you have 999 lines. At the end of marathon or any mode for that matter, you’ll see a high score and stats from that game. You can also view other stats in the main menu.


These two new modes are hardly dazzling when Tetris 99 itself feels so much better, but this DLC feels so necessary for a complete experience. The real let down here is there is now a customization option for themes and icons. Big Block DLC doesn’t come with any new themes, instead they’ll be unlocked with events. Having to play events to get themes seems like a good reward for participating enough to get a one-hundred score.


I may as well mention the newest theme to pad out this review is the GameBoy theme, which does accurately feel like the GameBoy version complete with sounds and music from the original. Well just one song from the original. There’s not much variety with Tetris 99 when it comes to looks and music. Back to the theme, there’s one glaring exception that ruins the immersion of the GameBoy experience and that’s the ugly red background beneath the traditional spinach color of the GameBoy. The red color feel so out of place and gets in the way of an immersive experience. Marathon mode has a pink background even with the GameBoy theme.


With one DLC out of the way and another still on the horizon, I’d love to see a mode-B style game from the GameBoy version and several more themes and icons included with the DLC. The icons unlock with every ten levels, to show others at a glance how experienced you are at Tetris 99, but that’s more of a base game thing than a DLC thing. I’d also love to have the game allow you to use your own Switch icon. It’s already there, why aren’t they using it already?

I am also left to wonder if this DLC lets me keep the game or do I still have to keep paying for Switch Online to use it. Will I get to keep the game after the company has moved on to a different console, and both Switch with Nintendo Online is obsolete?

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