Tetris Primetime has revamped the classic iPhone gaming app for me and I'm totally obsessed all over again

Screenshots of the Tetris app from the Apple App Store
The Tetris app has had a bunch of upgrades for the iPhone – get building. (Image credit: Tetris/Apple App Store)

The Tetris logo from the Apple App Sotre

(Image credit: Tetris/Apple App Store)

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Tetris needs no introduction. This colorful and highly-addictive building block game has been around since the mid 1980s and over the decades you'll have probably played it in on a number of different platforms and devices – or you will have if you were born around a similar time as Tetris hit the original Game Boy, like me. 

But have you tried the Tetris iPhone app recently? I imagine some people will have always had Tetris in their library of iPhone games and always will. Others may have deleted it, got bored of it or simply forgotten about it over the years. But I'm here to tell you that it's time to redownload it and get it back into your daily gaming rotation. Although don't blame me if it eats up all your spare time again, just like it did back in the 90s.

What's new about Tetris for the iPhone?

We all know how Tetris works. Blocks of different shapes and colors fall from the top of the screen and you have to rotate them and decide where they do to create complete rows. As you build, the blocks stack up and if you don't make enough rows they'll back up making it impossible for new ones to drop in – game over! 

The basic mechanics of the game haven't changed for the iPhone or the iPad. But there are some improvements that make playing it more fun, intuitive and Apple-like. For starters, on both the iPhone and the iPad swipe controls make it easier for you to make lines really quickly. You just slide the blocks around the game to move them and then tap to rotate before swiping down to slide them into place. 

There's also a 'hold' feature, which allows you to swipe up to hold a piece back, allowing you to switch it in at the right moment. Tetris purists might argue that makes the game easier, but I actually like that there's a little more strategy to it this way. 

Another thing you might not be used to if you haven't played Tetris in years is that you can now play with hundreds of other people online. Completing rows will send blocks to your opponents while you're having to deal with any that pop in your game that other people have sent you. It's fast-paced, fun and refreshing if you're tired of regular solo gameplay. 

You can also link up with friends to play against them, or join Tetris Primetime. This takes place each night and lets you battle it out with prizes to be won. 

Honestly, the specifics don't really matter all that much. This is more of a love letter to Tetris and an excuse to remind you that rather than busying yourself trying to find new and exciting games, sometimes the nostalgic ones are still the most fun. 


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Becca Caddy

Becca Caddy is a contributor to iMore, as well as a freelance journalist and author. She’s been writing about consumer tech and popular science for more than a decade, covering all kinds of topics, including why robots have eyes and whether we’ll experience the overview effect one day. She’s particularly interested in VR/AR, wearables, digital health, space tech and chatting to experts and academics about the future. She’s contributed to TechRadar, T3, Wired, New Scientist, The Guardian, Inverse and many more. Her first book, Screen Time, came out in January 2021 with Bonnier Books. She loves science-fiction, brutalist architecture, and spending too much time floating through space in virtual reality. Last time she checked, she still holds a Guinness World Record alongside iMore Editor in Chief Gerald Lynch for playing the largest game of Tetris ever made, too.