Arguably the most perfect piece of media ever created, Tetris is one of those games where it can be handed to anyone and they’ll immediately understand what’s going on. Different shaped blocks fall down. Line them up and erase blocks. Erase a lot at once for a high score. If it reaches the top then you lose. Boom, it’s that simple.
It’s what makes the game one of the most important titles in history. Of course, with simplicity comes an opportunity to create something new and that’s what the team working on Tetris Beat is attempting to do.
“One of the jumping off points for sure was a quote from Alexey [Pajitnov] who stated ‘playing Tetris is a very specific rhythmic visual pleasure for me. Tetris is a song, which you sing and sing inside yourself, and can’t stop.” Lawrence Clark of N3TWORK told UPROXX. “And this, this was definitely directional for music, visuals, gameplay, the marriage of everything, that makes the iconic Tetris gameplay so wonderful and fresh to this day”
Tetris Beat is taking that quote from Pajitnov, the creator of Tetris, and bringing it to its natural next step: A rhythm game. Some might argue that Tetris has always been a game about rhythm, but Tetris Beat is taking that a step beyond. Everything from placement, to rotations, to when the matches occur is meant to be matched to the rhythm of each song. Think something like Crypt of the NecroDancer, but instead, it’s Tetris. Of course, players will be able to see that rhythmic style throughout the game as they play it. Not only in how the game plays, but in the overall art style.
Flashing lights, bright colors, and reverberations along to the beat can all be physically seen as players are dropping and matching. These fit a theme that also happens to match perfectly with the EDM/Hip Hop scene. Something about those genres of music lends itself to a game like Tetris Beat perfectly and it’s no surprise that the soundtrack is expected to follow that path. Even better, it’s going to be more than the typical Top 40.
“We definitely reached out to our current Tetris community and looked at players that play on mobile devices and we asked them if they wanted to play Tetris to the beat of the music and it was a resounding yes.” Kathee Chimowitz of N3TWORK told UPROXX. “We then asked what genres would you like to play to or listen to the most? And the top three were pop, hip-hop, and EDM.
“Today women and non-binary producers in dance music is severely underrepresented. And so we have the pleasure to bring artists with incredible diverse talent to Tetris Beat and to Tetris,” Chimowitz continued. “So with our music supervisor David Stephenson Fisher’s hand, we were able to have Alison Wonderland, Cinthie, Octo Octa, Eris Drew, and Dru Flecha, in the game and cover genres from Scandinavian Pop to Latin American hip-hop.”
As the team behind Tetris Beat searched the world for artists to contribute to the soundtrack, one of the names they landed on was Rob “GARZA” Garza. The EDM producer said the opportunity to be a part of a game with so much history was too intriguing to pass up.
“As a kid, I loved playing Tetris and it’s something… I have a ten-year-old son, and we played it as well.” Rob GARZA told UPROXX. “And [they] were telling me about the project and you know, I’m always up for doing a lot of different types of work. So I was kind of excited to jump in and do something.”
The song GARZA created for Tetris Beat is a really fun EDM beat that will have most players bopping their head along to it as they drop in tiles. The exact feeling that the Tetris Beat team wanted to create with their soundtrack. It’s exciting and vibrant but nothing too overwhelming, which is important in a rhythm game.
“My creative process is just, you know, just sit down with a bunch of instruments and synthesizers that I love and just kind of start ripping and coming up with ideas,” GARZA said. “And, you know, I want to just make something that was very mystical sounding kind of, you know, had this idea of like flying saucers and mushrooms and things happening and they sort of gave me a creative way to play around. So I wanted something that also sounds a bit otherworldly, but also, you know, has some cultural context is from a lot of different places.”
It would have been really easy for Tetris Beat to be a game where players just played rhythm-based Tetris to whatever song is in their Apple Music library. But that wouldn’t have fit what makes Tetris cool. The style of Tetris Beat, alongside the pop, hip-hop, and EDM music they’ve chosen meshes far better together. With artists like GARZA understanding this, and making music that matched that theming, the team of Tetris Beat has created a truly unique soundtrack. One that is diverse, inclusive, and fitting of the Tetris name. Tetris should be cool and Tetris Beat looks cool.
Want a sample of the kind of music that will be in Tetris Beat? Get an exclusive look at GARZA’s Mystification right here on Uproxx! You can of course find the full song on Apple Music or within Tetris Beat itself.