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> Tetris 99 (Nintendo Switch)
cycle
post Feb 13 2019, 11:37 PM
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https://www.nintendo.com/games/detail/tetris-99-switch

Now available!


Download the Tetris® 99 game for free!



The free to download online software, Tetris® 99, is available as a special offer for Nintendo Switch Online members. In large-scale, 99-player battles, it'll take speed, skill, and strategy to knock out the competition and become the last player standing. You can target opponents by sending them Garbage Blocks, but be careful…your rivals can target you back! Defeat opponents to acquire KO badges that may give you the advantage on future attacks. Survive the onslaught and look forward to upcoming online events!
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bigwig
post Feb 14 2019, 08:44 AM
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So does anyone know how badges work yet? Are the late game badges separate from KOs?
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Okey_Dokey
post Feb 14 2019, 09:37 AM
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Disclaimer: Take everything what I say with a grain of salt, I don't own a Switch and the game is brand new.

I expected a new release but not as soon. Tetris' (fake) 35th aniversary is approaching and in November, there was a Japanese IGN interview (use google translate) where Henk and Maya Rogers hinted at new releases (and even mentioned eSports once). Also, Tetris Ultimate isn't available for sell anymore since 2 weeks ago, so I assume Ubisoft has given back some licenses they acquired.

Tetris 99 is free to play and add-free, so it's just there to promote Nintendo's online service (20 $ a year). And it's borrowing from the Battle Royale genre where 99 or 100 players fight for the top spot. It's interesting that Nintendo made that move. Is it working? Well, at least it got some hype in the Tetris subreddit: 50 posts in one day - that's by far the highest I've ever seen. I am the opposite of hyped though.

Game was developed by Arika, the company that also made the Tetris The Grand Master series. I could imagine that Cultris 2 was an inspiration: It has a singleplayer challenge where you play against 65 bots simultaneously (<<Melee>>, "Too many cooks spoil the broth"). Ichiro Mihara, vice president of Arika, once donated money to keep Cultris 1 online for a further year, so I am very sure that he knew that challenge.

The game seems to have rather high Left/Right speed (high AutoRepeat Rate, medium long Deleayed AutoShift). Softdrop speed is rather low though (only under low gravity). Line clear delay is really long but that mustn't necessarily be bad because of how the garbage canceling works. You have a very long period of time to cancel incoming garbage.

I personally dislike the graphics and especially the audio. The game sounds remind me of either Tetris Axis or Tetris DS. And there are 3 things which I really dislike:
  • Game uses high gravity in multiplayer. The fewer players alive, the higher the falling speed of the pieces. So pieces fall to the ground very quickly but you still have lots of time to rotate and move them on the ground. High gravity is a no go for me (I look at you Dr. Mario and singleplayer Puyo Puyo). Multiplayer Tetris should be about smart stacking but high gravity limits the choices you have. Slower players basically have to make a hill but with a hill in the middle you can't make T-Spins or line clears that fix parity issues. Also, the SRS kick systems behaves awfully, once the pieces touch the ground. For example, it can be impossible to move the I piece to the most-right column, if the column next to it is higher than the rest. Or it's possible to move most pieces over a small row but you have to rotate at least 3 times. Also, it's hard to setup T-Spins under high gravity: either you fail at creating the overhang or at moving the T piece above the overhang.
  • Game uses pretty clean garbage. Puyo Puyo Tetris garbage consistency was so good but we are back at the Tetris DS stone age. Usually, lines that are inserted at the very same time have their garbage hole in the same column. In lategame, you often receive at least 4 lines at once. That's one free Tetris.
  • Game offers 2 input layouts only and those 2 layouts are very similar. You can't even swap the buttons for rotate clockwise and counterclockwise. Hard Drop is always mapped to Up on the DPad. I saw a part of Wumbo's first stream and he played like a noob because of it. Later, he was very pro, either because he switched to JoyCons or because he used an adapter with which let you customize buttons.
Game seems to use the Tetris Battle attack table (see the Facebook game or Battle 2P / 5P modes in Tetris Friends). There, back to backs are more powerful because they send 50% more garbage (+2 lines for T-Spin Double, +3 lines for T-Spin Triples). Also, 1 combo already sends one line of garbage, and every line clear from 7 combo onwards sends 4 lines. I wouldn't expect combos to be strong though because of the long line clear delay and because you can't cancel incoming lines while upstacking the combo.

edit: looks like I was wrong about Back to backs. It's probably just +1 line, and not +50%. Also, Perfect Clears send less lines than usual. Note that there's a mechanic which lets you counter / send(?) more lines, if you are currently attacked by more than one person. It's +1 line for 2 attackers and + n lines for n attackers, if n is at least 3. However, if that mechanic is used or not seems to depend on your targeting system. I think it is only applied, if you choose "Random" (selects a target randomly and that person stays your target for a while) or "Attack" (your attack is split between all persons who are currently attacking you). With the help of this mechanic, even smaller line clears can become powerful (at least in defense, not sure if the promised amount of lines is really send to your opponents).

I would expect that in early game, the looping patterns ZT Stacking and Infinite T-Spin Triple work pretty well, maybe also Perfect Clears (edit: I wrote this when I thought back to back would give +50 % damage increase and PCs would send +10 lines). The goal should be to get as many top outs and bagdes as possible. With each KO you get a fraction of a badge and steal all badges from that opponent. Badges basically work as a damage multiplier. You send twice as much garbage if you've collected 4 badges. In midgame, I would say you have to use freestyle (empty column not on the wall, stack some T-Spins above) to score some T-Spins and Tetrises. In lategame, Tetrises should be your weapon of choice: You usually receive some pretty clean garbage which you can send back easily though Tetrises; and T-Spins are rather risky because of the high gravity.

Tetris 99 offers some different targetting choices. You can target individuals or use "Randoms", "Badges", "KOs", "Attackers". In early game, you should use an option which is good at farming KOs and badges. The options "Badges" and "KOs" should work well. In late game, choose "Attackers". In that case your attacks are split between all opponents which recently attacked you and you send some extra lines (depending on how many players attack you).

Some links:
How to win at Tetris 99
Has anybody else figured out the attack mechanics?
Tetris 99 review
Blink's stream
Amemiya's stream

Wumbo's stream:


PS: Blink buys PS4 for PPT, then sells PS4 to buy Switch. Then he sells Switch to buy PS4 again because of Tetris Effect. And now he bought a Switch for Tetris 99. That's so LOL.
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simonlc
post Feb 14 2019, 03:25 PM
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Thanks for the great post Okey_Dokey!

I quite like the game. I personally thought the easy garbage and gravity increase were nice changes to the older formulas. As you said, Mihara may have been inspired by other games, and he is known to love Tetris DS.

I don't think I'll be playing it much, using these types of controls hurts my hands. I'll have to get myself a hitbox if I want to play more.
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cycle
post Feb 14 2019, 09:51 PM
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QUOTE(Okey_Dokey @ Feb 14 2019, 09:37 AM) *
Line clear delay is really long


stfu.

every single time the same.
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Okey_Dokey
post Feb 15 2019, 12:11 AM
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Here's a video showing how important the target system is. At the start of the game, the player chooses "Attackers" and somehow he became the selected target of many opponents. As a result, every line clear he makes sends a huge amount of lines. And he sends those lines before his opponents can stack an attack, so there's barely any drawback for him getting targetted so much. With other words: you can profit from being the target of many slower players as long as you use "Attackers" or "Randoms" as target system.




At one point he sends 11 lines with a Single 0 combo - a move that normally doesn't send any lines. He had 25 % attack boost, so originally it was worth 9 lines. In this extreme case Singles become the strongest attacks: 2 Singles send much more garbage than a T-Spin Double or Tetris. And I have a little problem with that. I would rather prefer that bonus being a multiplier than an addend because it wouldn't invert the strength of attacks in comparison to each othe. This case also shows that 4 wide can become very powerful in the right situation. It doesn't matter as much in lategame though, as players are usually the target of 2 players at maximum there.

edit: I saw someone getting the target bonus with "KOs" target type. I give up; I don't understand when people receive that target bonus and when not.

------

The How to win at Tetris 99 I linked in my previous post got the line sent calculation almost correct from my obversations. Here's how I think it works:
  1. Count how many lines a line clear would normally send:
    • Single: 0 lines
    • Double: 1 line
    • Triple: 2 lines
    • Tetris: 4 lines
    • Mini T-Spin Single: 0 lines
    • T-Spin Single: 2 lines
    • T-Spin Double: 4 lines
    • T-Spin Triple: 6 lines
  2. If applicable, add 1 line back-to-back bonus. You get that bonus for a Tetris or T-Spin line clear where the last line clear was also a T-Spin or Tetris.
  3. Add the combo bonus (almost the same as Tetris Battle):
    • 1 combo: +1 line
    • 2 combo: +1 line
    • 3 combo: +2 lines
    • 4 combo: +2 lines
    • 5 combo: +3 lines
    • 6 combo: +3 lines
    • 7 combo: +4 lines
    • 8 combo: +4 lines
    • 9 combo: +4 lines
    • 10 combo: +5 lines
  4. Add the Perfect Clear bonus if applicable. Looks like the bonus is only 4 lines. Note that most official games ignore the combo and line clear count and send a fixed amount of lines for a Perfect Clear - but I think that's not the case here.
  5. Add the target bonus if applicable. This bonus seems to be only applicable, if you choose "Attackers" or "Random" as target system and if you are the target of at least 2 opponents. The bonus itself depends on the amount of times you are the target. It should be +1 line for 2 x target, +3 lines for 3 x target and +5 lines for 4 x target, +7 lines for 5 x target and +9 lines for 6 x target.
  6. Sum up every previously mentioned number. Now add the damage boost from badges: + floor( #lines x percentual boost) . floor means round down. The percentual boost can be 0.25, 0.5, 0.75 and 1 whereas 1 is achieved by getting 4 full badges. 1 is much better than 0.75 because 1 will always result in an integer number before rounding.
  7. Cap the amount of sent lines per line clear at 20 (never send more than 20 lines).
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Okey_Dokey
post Feb 15 2019, 06:24 AM
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According to this tweet Tetris 99 will receive these modes sometime in future:
  • Team Battle: "Two giant teams clash. Be on the winning side!"
  • COM Battle: "Battle against 98 bots. Defeat the machines!" (supports both 99 Battle and Team Battle)
  • Marathon: score attack -> 200 lines or endless
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Sandra
post Mar 10 2019, 12:49 PM
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Hi, what a great post, thanks!

QUOTE(Okey_Dokey @ Feb 14 2019, 09:37 AM) *
The game seems to have rather high Left/Right speed (high AutoRepeat Rate, medium long Deleayed AutoShift). [...] Game uses high gravity in multiplayer. The fewer players alive, the higher the falling speed of the pieces.

Since the Left/Right speed is so high I found that the high gravity is zero problems. It just amkes the game faster which is great because you want to hurry up before you get attacked by the other dorks.

As far as I know, unlike Lockjaw, there's no way to instantly move to the other side of the screen though which makes it hard to "motor memory" drop positions.

QUOTE(Okey_Dokey @ Feb 14 2019, 09:37 AM) *
Softdrop speed is rather low though (only under low gravity)


This on the other hand is super awkward. Making a T-spin or L-twist at the bottom of the well early on is molasses. Having played so many games where you can't really spin or even slide pieces, just hard drop, the slow softdrop is interesting though because it really rewards just making fast hard drops to dig down.

I personally love the audio and video of the game but with one exception: the "ghost" piece is so dark and hard to see with my bad old witch eyes.

QUOTE(Okey_Dokey @ Feb 15 2019, 12:11 AM) *
I saw someone getting the target bonus with "KOs" target type. I give up; I don't understand when people receive that target bonus and when not.

Let me know if someone figures it out!♥
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caffeine
post Mar 11 2019, 03:03 PM
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To sum up a discussion in Discord, Doremy said that Attacker mode doesn't split up attacks. Doremy wasn't sure if it was sending the same amount of lines to each attacker, or maybe there was a slight deduction per opponent.

This video shows how the first attack sends 9 to Doremy as well as sending to many other players, so it wouldn't be possible for that attack to be an even split: https://mobile.twitter.com/doremypuyotet/st...589445788688384

Therefore, using Attacker mode is advantageous, but not for the reason previously speculated on. It let's you send more lines total because it is sending the base attack multiple times.

Then, stacking high and attracting targets from those set to attacker mode allows you to not only increase your base attack, but also replicate that attack many times over.
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Okey_Dokey
post Mar 11 2019, 11:27 PM
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QUOTE(caffeine @ Mar 11 2019, 03:03 PM) *

To sum up a discussion in Discord, Doremy said that Attacker mode doesn't split up attacks. Doremy wasn't sure if it was sending the same amount of lines to each attacker, or maybe there was a slight deduction per opponent.

As further proof see this short clip: There's an opponent located in the bottom right corner who is in Attacker mode. After the first Single, the opponent's garbage goes to 4 different fields and the player receives 5 lines. After the second Single, the opponent's garbage goes to 3 different fields and the player receives 3 lines.

QUOTE(Sandra @ Mar 10 2019, 12:49 PM) *
QUOTE(Okey_Dokey @ Feb 15 2019, 12:11 AM) *
I saw someone getting the target bonus with "KOs" target type. I give up; I don't understand when people receive that target bonus and when not.

Let me know if someone figures it out!♥

Well, the multi-target bonus is handed out every time, independently of the target mode you are using. It just depends on how many yellow lines go to your playfield. If it's 2 yellow lines, then every line clear you make sends +1 line. 3 yellow -> +3 sends, 4 yellow -> +5 sends, 5 yellow -> +7 sends, 6 or more yellow -> +9 sends. So, even a Single - which usually doesn't send any lines - can become powerful, if you are targeted enough. If there are 3 or more yellow lines, I would always switch to Attacker mode though. It's the best defensive option, and as caffeine said, it sends more garbage to your opponents. Note that those extra lines also receive the badge damage boost. For example 3 yellow means +3 sends at the start of the game, but with +100 % badge damage it's +6 sends. However, note that each line clear will never send more than 20 garbage, and more importantly players can have never more than 12 pending lines (in that meter next to your playfield) - everything above 12 will be removed that means you don't have to counter or accept the excess lines.

Whereas it's just pure luck, if you get the multi-target bonus at the start of a game; you can kinda force it in midgame: Just stack high, and you will become the target of people who set the target mode to KO. I think, if "KO" targets you - or not - does not only depend on the height of your playfield but also on how many filled cells you have in your playfield. This means you have a higher chance to receive the multi-target bonus, if you stack 2-wide or 1-wide instead of the usual 4-wide.

edit: For strategy, also see Doremy's tweet series.

It's been some weeks since the release. Here's my final opinion and things which happened meanwhile:
  • First off, Tetris 99 got a lot of hype and interest. I would go so far and say that so much attention was only possible because of the free-to-play-without-downsides nature of the game (no monetization besides the Nintendo Online Service requirement).
  • The Tetris community profited greatly from this attention. For example, amemiya streams almost get 100k viewers in average. Even non-Tetris99 profited, e.g. Jstris getting tons of players, Wumbo getting 1 million views with a Tetris Effect video, or I got 400k with a 9 months-old NullpoMino video (T-Spin Snaking) which had something like 20k views before Tetris99.
  • However, I think the interest will decrease significantly in the next 3 months.
  • Tetris 99 was so popular also because it was so beginner friendly: If you top out early during a round, then you don't have to wait - just start a new game. And because everybody could try it out, there were a lot of underaverage players in the first weeks which makes it a better experience for underaverage players in general (Tetris pros just scare players away from speedy Tetris clients). Even reaching top 50 can be a success for certain people.
  • Another reason why Tetris 99 was so popular was because it resembles more Marathon or Singleplayer Tetris in general than any other multiplayer title. there's gravity, it's less likely to have garbage lines in the playfield, and it's easy to get rid of garbage lines (garbage hole of different attacks usually aligning above each other).
  • Tetris 99 generated more interest in competetive Tetris than any other title although it can't be played competitively at all. For one, you cannot decide against who you play; almost every player here has 50 % win rate although you play against 98 other players per match. Secondly, you can't really watch your opponents and respond - too many anonymous opponents, opponent screen's only updated once per second or so, and the playfield of your target is covered by a big hexagon. And as said before, high gravity and clean garbage decrease the amount of smart stacking choices you can make.
  • I think the target and badge systems are well designed. Badges add some randomness and makes you want to attack other players. The sum of all badges in the game corresponds to the number of topped out players - thus there's a progression in the game.
  • However, I think the multi-target bonus is badly implemented: the weakest line clear (Singles) becomes the strongest line clear. As said before I would prefer if the multi-target bonus would work as a percentual bonus like the badge multiplier does (or as a smaller fixed bonus amount plus percentual bonus). I also think that it's bad that "Attackers" mode gives you way more sent lines, if there's a high amount of attackers.
  • Space is very limited. That's why the developers decided to scale down the next piece queue. I dislike this decision. I think that keeps a lot of players back (beginners not paying attention to the previews at all, we all know how important the previews are).
  • I said that Tetris99 can't be played competitively but some streamers still found a way. TafoKints initiated a 2 hours event (the "Invitational") where some other streamers were invited (among others Wumbo, Blink, heboMai). Goal was it to reach as many points as possible during the 2 hours whereas every KO scored 1 point, and getting first place was worth 10 points. That event was a huge success, also thanks to Trey Harrison (tech guy at Classic Tetris World Championship) who found a nice way to keep track of the KOs and points. Wumbo won that event.
  • Wumbo became the first player sponsored by a eSport organization thanks to the attention that Tetris99 brought (tweet, news).
  • Only 1 patch so far with barely any noticeable changes. That's disappointing. There's still no way to disable music or change controls, and no new game mode.
  • This week there was an official event called Maximus Cup / Grand Prix. 1000 players from each region (North America, Europe, Japan) could win 1,000 Nintendo Gold Points (that's about 10$) Rules differed from region to region. Whereas in North America, you had to get as many first places as possible to get into the top 1000; only one first place was enough to get into a draft/lottery in Europe (no benefit of winning multiple times).
  • Tetris99 is very grindy. The first players have already reached level 100 or 1* as it is called ingame.
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Okey_Dokey
post Mar 14 2019, 07:04 AM
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Regarding the most recent talk in this thread. Everybody is now abusing the fact that
  • When being targeted, players get a flat +x lines sent bonus. x depends on the amount of yellow lines linking your field with the attackers (2 yellow lines -> 1, 3 -> 3, 4 -> 5, 5 -> 7, 6+ yellow lines -> 9). Best way to use this bonus is Singles. Best way to get many targeters is stacking a 1 wide to the top with the Tetris column in the middle.
  • When being targeted, "Attackers" target mode sends more lines than the other target modes. "Attackers" mode doesn't split a flat amount of lines between all opponents, it rather sends that flat amount to each opponent (or something similar).
The strategy is to stack so high that you are in the danger zone. Then, you are targeted by people who chose the "KO" mode (reminder: the system prefers fields with a high amount of filled cells, thus 1 wide > 4 wide). This works best at the start of the game: Pro Tetris players can upstack faster than their opponents which means they are the ones in the danger zone first. You are not in real danger though: Such a high amount of lines is sent to your opponents that the opponents are busy with canceling them. And the few lines you still receive are easily cancelable thanks to the long garbage insertion delay. I've seen people getting 40+ KOs with this strategy.

Doremy
live_desu
Wumbo
Blink
Tafokints

Yoshie100Aus:

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Sandra
post Mar 15 2019, 08:27 PM
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I specifically got the online service (though I already had a Switch) because of Tetris 99.
I get around a 7% win rate which is an unusual and odd "inbetween", folks outside the Tetris community are like "oh, i am so happy because i got in the top 40 in one game today!" and you guys are at 50%+ win rate.
I guess I'm halfway between bad & good♥
(I got to sixth in my region on Puyo Puyo Tetris, so, pretty far from world class level while also being better than "living room level", kinda awkward to find good opposition but that's why Tetris 99 is great for me! It's always challenging without being hopeless.)

I'm pretty good at building 1-wide quickly (i have other weak spots) so I'll try that strategy. Maybe the game will quickly lose interest since that isn't the most fun way to play.
I really really appreciate the summary and the clear explanation, thank you so much♥

The 7% win rate might be a little bit deflated because I've been experimenting with weird things like using the NES controllers (i.e. it's a pita to change attackers or to hold pieces) or practicing my weak spots. (I'm good at quick building, I like to go one wide, two wide or three wide. I'm ok at doing an all clear at the start. I'm not great at t-spin triples or even doubles though I've started incorporating the latter sometimes. — but this newfound "attackers" danger zone strategy seems great for me! I'll try it!♥)

And TBH I kinda hope they patch it out.
Just like Puyo Puyo Tetris was patched, Tetris was so OP vs Puyo before.
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Sandra
post Mar 17 2019, 08:02 AM
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Wait a minute, I just realized that this doesn't need patching out. As the twitter thread already mentioned, this only works because of the K.O.-targeting heavy meta.

As usual when I try to learn a new strat my winrate initially plummeted. I usually top 10 and often win but when I was trying to get the hang of it I was getting 80th, 70th etc. But once I started winning I got like 22 K.O.s! Brutal

Even though I thought I was pretty quick at building quickly, I realized that a lot of the patterns I'm used to is with the gap at the edge. But they're not kidding about the fact that the gap needs to be centered.
And not kidding about needing to make a lot of singles quickly either.♥

But I appreciate the tips so much♥♥
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