Odds are high that, you a Kotaku reader, have played Tetris before. In fact, you’ve likely played a lot of Tetris or one of its many clones and knock-offs. But you’ve probably never played a Tetris-inspired game quite like Setris, a new take on the popular puzzler that adds physics and satisfying, shifting sand to the classic formula. And the results are excellent.
I doubt I need to really explain what Tetris is, but just so everyone is on the same page: Tetris is a very good puzzle game about blocks of different shapes that fall into a narrow playfield. The player must try to stack these blocks to form solid lines, which scores points. Continually clearing lines as the pieces fall faster and faster leads to high scores. If you want to know more, you could watch the movie about its origins released earlier this year. (Or not, as that film isn’t very accurate or good.) But I’m not here to talk about Tetris. I’m here to spread the good word about Setris!
Developed by mslivo and released earlier this month (h/t Rock, Paper, Shotgun), Setris is not only fun to say, but fun to play. At first glance, it appears to be a retro-inspired Tetris clone. Not a very unique concept, that’s for sure. But the moment the first block hits the bottom of the screen and crumbles into pixelated sand you realize things are very different in this game.
The key here is using the differently shaped bricks to spread sand across the width of the playfield in order to create “lines” or, to be more, precise, blobs of color. As long as a few grains (or pixels) of the same-colored sand connect from one side of the Setris well to the other, that’s enough to trigger the blob’s destruction.
In theory, this might seem pretty simple. In practice, it’s a satisfyingly frustrating challenge to attempt to maintain coherent, same-color strata among the constantly shifting layers of sand. But because the sand is always moving, you’ll sometimes catch a lucky break and a few pixels will slide into just the right spot to destroy a big chunk of the board. Or, if you’re really skilled (or lucky…) you’ll trigger the popping of multiple blobs as sand fills in newly empty voids, leading to one of the most satisfying visual experiences I’ve had in a game all year.
And don’t worry! If you screw it all up, at least your board will end up looking like some really cool, modern sand art. Take a screenshot before it falls apart and you might be able to sell it at a gallery in Los Angeles.
If you want to play Setris it’s available on Itch.io now for whatever price you want, and is playable on PC or Linux.