Has it really been four years since I've written about a Tetris game? Every new video game system needs a new Tetris game, and for Nintendo Switch that niche was filled by launch title Puyo Puyo Tetris, a fun game that I'll be writing about more in the unspecified future.
Tetris 99 was an out-of-left-field surprise announcement that was part of Nintendo's Nintendo Direct announcements from this past February. The base game is free for Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, and since its initial release the game has received one round of paid DLC that adds new modes, with further DLC planned for the future.
The main "battle royale" mode of Tetris 99 is an entertaining twist on the formula. The classic tried-and-true Tetris gameplay is front and center, but you're also given options for choosing your attack strategy (random, those attacking you, etc.). I can't be bothered to multi-task and strategize my attacks, so I usually just pick random, but NintendoLife posted a guide with tips for anyone looking to play more seriously than I.
That game mode is fun, but a little more stressful than your average Tetris game and not one that I would necessarily want to pick up regularly. What has kept me coming back to the game is the "Maximus Cup" events, which started off rewarding the highest scoring players with eShop points, but which now have you play to earn points in order to unlock a theme to use in the game. So far the events have featured the original Game Boy Tetris as a theme, a Splatoon crossover theme, and most recently a Fire Emblem: Three Houses. All the themes are a lot of fun to use and were well worth earning.
Tetris 99 is a worthwhile entry in a long and ongoing series, and although it doesn't look like the paid DLC adds much, it's a very nice freebie otherwise. As a completist I'll probably pick up the retail release (which comes with a 12 Month Nintendo Switch Online Membership at some point (it releases next week), but this does remind me that there are plenty of older releases that I should be going back to as well. Eventually!