We at Destructoid have recently spent an alarming amount of our free time dicking around with Tetris Friends, a free, online collection of Tetris modes with Mario Kart Wii-esque skill level system where you steadily rise in rank as you defeat more and more online enemies in multiplayer puzzle combat. After playing about fifteen minutes of six person Tetris battles, however, I became rather suspicious. The game was, for lack of a better word, just too good.
The quickmatches were instantaneous, despite the fact that I seemingly needed to connect to five other people. There was no lag whatsoever. Either this unassuming little Tetris Web site had managed to completely revolutionize the connection and opponent-finding issues that plague every single multiplayer game known to man, or they were creating dummy bot accounts in an effort to trick players into thinking the site was more heavily populated than it was.
I emailed their support line about it, and was surprised to find the game’s speediness had a much more interesting and unusual explanation: yes, you’re playing against five other human beings, but you’re not playing live against them. “You are playing against a recording instead of a live player,” Tetris Friends customer support responded. “The recorded game is [an] actual saved game from other players which the system selects randomly…the recording seldom make[s] mistake[s] because you are playing against their best game.” The team is evidently working on implementing a live multiplayer mode as we speak, as well as other additions to the site such as the implementation of a friends list.
A surprising, but actually somewhat cool revelation. It’s a little bit of a bummer in that you can add block lines to your opponents by making combos and since they’re, you know, recordings, they won’t react as you would expect a human being to, but it’s still a really interesting exchange in the name of fantastic play speed.