I can't think of anyone I know that hasn't played a substantial amount of Tetris and enjoyed it. Tetris is one of those classic games I have been playing since I was a child. As a matter of fact, along with Centipede, it was one of the first games I ever had on a cell phone. It's has a simple yet challenging concept that has been remade countless times. One of my favorite Tetris-style games was Sonic Blox which is a slight twist on original Tetris with Sonic the Hedgehog characters. You can find Tetris clones around just about every corner of the gaming world. Doptrix Evolution is one of these clones. I don't necessarily say that with any negative undertones. Doptrix Software did a wonderful job making this game their own. They added various game modes and the ability to manipulate the game board which gives it a bit of an edge over some of the Tetris duplicates.
Just in case you've lived under a rock your entire life and have never played Tetris, and therefore have no frame of reference, let me explain how these games work. You are given a variety of randomly shaped blocks that you are to strategically place on the board in hopes that you don't fill the space up completely. You want to form full lines across the screen because every time you do that, the line disappears, making room for more blocks. Most games like this have these blocks falling into the game board at increasing speeds, making timing very important. In Doptrix Evolution, a similar mechanic is in place however, you place the block at your own pace. When you first start Doptrix they give you a brief tutorial on how to play. This alone let me see exactly how different this game is in comparison to the others of this genre. To begin with, you have the ability to move the game board which consists of 8x8 grid (unless you upgrade to the full version where there are different size grids). You can rotate the board on all sides and you can flip it vertically or horizontally. This gives you full control of the playing field rather than full control of the individual pieces.
There are four different modes of gameplay that affect how you are going to play the game. The first is Classic mode. It starts out with one single block placed on the gameboard to give you somewhere to begin putting pieces. At the bottom of the screen, you have a choice between two shapes to put on the board. Once you choose the shape, two more will appear for the next turn. You get points for each piece you successfully place on the board and for every time you complete a line. Pretty simple and yet, I found myself trapped with Tetris brain, forgetting I have full control of the board. The next mode you can choose is Reflection. The difference with Reflection mode is that the game board automatically inverts for each piece you play. You can still rotate the board manually but you don't have any control over turning it vertically or horizontally. Survival mode is different because for every piece you place on the grid, the game adds one block to the board. The object is to continue playing as long as you can, which is difficult because of how quickly the grid fills up. The final mode you can choose is Challenge. In Challenge, you have a predetermined group of blocks that you can see on the bottom of the page. You know which block is coming next and how many you have to play. This is my favorite mode because I can look ahead and plan out how I want to execute my moves. The same way a good chess player would plan out their moves. Each time you successfully place all of your shaped blocks on the grid you move on to the next level. This next level is going to begin with even more random blocks placed on the board that you have to plan your moves around.
The graphics and sound effects for Doptrix Evolution feel appropriate for a puzzle game. While the graphics are about what one would expect from this type of game, the music and effects fit with pinpoint precision. The music in particular, when recently added, is relaxing in its execution and goes a long way to turn Doptrix Evolution into an experience rather than a time waster.
The only real setback for Doptrix Evolution is redundancy. This is an amazing idea, and the execution feels nearly flawless. However having played Tetris for hours upon hours I was left with a little bit of a “been there done that” feeling. The excellent music and capable controls go far to stave off these feelings, but for me, they still encroached the experience overtime.
While I enjoyed playing Doptrix Evolution, I had a hard time quantifying the experience. The game is solid, simple, and has no obvious gameplay flaws that I can think of. It's challenging enough that I got satisfaction from advancing in levels and beating my previous high scores, yet easy enough for someone to learn in a few minutes. Kudos to the developers of this game for taking a good thing and expanding on it but somewhere deep down, I feel like I have been here before. For a free game though (with a cheap upgrade to the full version), it's definitely worth a download. Doptrix Evolution is genuinely entertaining to people who prefer to stick to classic style puzzle games.