Chesstris 2000

Chesstris 2000 is a logic puzzle game inspired by chess and Tetris. Figures on a board can be moved according to the usual chess rules, but are connected to Tetris tiles; one figure is marked and needs to be moved onto a given field to finish the level – to do so you’ll need to navigate around other figures and static stones that block your way. If a complete line on the field is filled, everything on it is destroyed – while you need to use this mechanic to finish most levels, it is also a potential danger for your main figure.

Aesthetically, the game is inspired by early-to-mid 2000 B-Games. These games were often copycats or variations of famous games, usually sold in jewelcases without a box for a few bucks in supermarkets or electronic stores. While some of them played okay or even fine, they all had clearly a bar to none production value and featured chunky GUIs, very simple and often incoherent 3D graphics, as well as stock images and sound effects. Tetris 2000 does not only try to emulate the resulting atmosphere and turns it to maximum: Textures are voluntarily low-res, the levels are outfitted with stock models and set in surreal situations (for the first half of the game you play within an aquarium), menus are ugly and glitchy, and the OST was made by vaporwave artist Stevia Sphere. But all of this is coherent – a lot of energy was spent to create a substantial appearance of heedlessness and to catch a sighted atmosphere instead of piling up popular vaporwave standards.

The gameplay is creative and fun, and I played through the whole game in one session after booting it up for the first time. The basic mechanics are used in smart ways to create diverse and challenging puzzles, and there is even a additional mechanic in the seconds half of the game – when I finished the last level I had not only the feeling that the idea was not overtaxed but that it would have carried for even more. However, the given scope is absolutely satisfactory.

Tetris 2000 is a great little game with a fun and creative concept that was neatly realized and varnished with a cool and detail obsessed design, and both great for playing a level once in a while or for a good 3,5 hour binge. The basic concept still offers room for much more, and the developer wrote that they might one day return to update it – so it might be worth to keep an eye upon it.

The game was realized in Unity and is available as in-browser application and as download (Windows only, works well in Wine) – the latter runs more smoothly and got some additional graphical effects and should be thus preferred.

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