If you've made the mistake of looking for Tetris Evolution on Xbox Live Arcade, we wouldn't blame you. In fact, we would even go so far as to say it isn't a mistake, because that's undoubtedly where it should be. Instead, if you want a piece of this classic (read: stale) Tetris action you'll have to pick up a retail copy at the budget price of $30.
Of course, for a $30 retail edition, we expect a little more than just the same old Tetris. To supplement the classic Marathon mode, various other modes are included, but there's absolutely nothing you haven't seen before. Most of the other modes, like Hotline and Go Low, just modify how the scoring is calculated, with little changes to the actual gameplay.
The only thing "new" offered here is a selection of interchangeable backgrounds and icons, which aren't even that pretty to look at. Besides, who has time to admire backgrounds with flowers and giraffes when you're trying to survive on level 15 with a fill rate set to high?
We also found that the 360 controller is less than ideal, especially during more frantic bouts of Tetris action. If you're in the habit of hitting "up" to drop blocks instantly (which applies to everyone but extreme noobs), you'll find yourself making annoying mistakes, specifically dropping blocks early in the wrong places. Unfortunately, whether you use the analog stick or the d-pad, it's the same story.
We would have liked to see more innovative multiplayer options, like Tetrinet style attacks to throw at opponents, instead of the same old who-can-outlast-who multiplayer modes that don't feel much different than single player. To call this rehash an "evolution" is laughable at best.
The combination of Tetris Evolution having nothing new to offer, along with the fact that it somehow isn't an XBLA download, makes it difficult to recommend. Unless you're a hardcore Tetris fan, or are willing to fork over the extra money for 1,000 relatively quick Achievement Points, you should probably "block" the urge to pick this one up.