I've gotten a bit behind, so to catch up I sat down with yet another Tetris game, this time Tetris: Axis for 3DS (even though I'd already played Tetris DX for Game Boy Color earlier this year). The game was released October 2, 2011 in North America, so just about six months after the 3DS's launch. For whatever reason, although it was developed by Hudson Soft, it was published by Nintendo in North America but by other companies in Japan and the EU.
I should've played Tetris Party first, but in any case I found the new-to-me extra modes to be pretty creative and much more enjoyable than I expected. I'm in a minority, but I don't feel like Nintendo's own Tetris DS is the pinnacle of the series, and although that game is more polished than this one, this has many more modes, most of which are pretty enjoyable. There's a fun variant where the well is narrower than normal, which, surprisingly, makes you have to look at the game in a new light. There's also a mode featuring the "Bombliss" Tetris variant, which is basically Tetris with bombs and was apparently first seen in NA in the game Tetris Blast for the original Game Boy. I'm sure I'll be playing that game eventually so I didn't spend much time with it here, but it looked like it would be fun.
This game also lets you tweak a slew of options for pretty much every mode, including selecting a stage to start on. It has some pointless glasses-free 3D effects and some useless AR modes and a slew of pointless achievements that apparently don't even unlock anything, and the aesthetics are, frankly, pretty mediocre and much more DS quality than 3DS (which is probably not surprising since they had already developed a DS version).
One place where Tetris DS has the edge is in the Vs. with Items mode. The items in this game are pretty gimmicky and require you to use the touchscreen and blow in the mic, etc., but what really breaks this mode is that there's one item that allows you to exchange your board with your opponent's. So if you have that item it's too easy to just dump a bunch of pieces into your board to make it impossible to get out of and then quickly switch your board with your opponent's. It's an easy and cheap tactic, but I'm usually not a fan of Tetris modes with items anyway.
All in all this was a pretty fun version of the classic game we all know and love. The lack of polish in the presentation brings it down, but all the extra modes (including local Vs. and single card download play) make this worthwhile, esp. if you don't already have Tetris Party Deluxe on Wii or DS.