Author: Francesco M. Munafo
Mike: I’ve made mention before of the fact that the majority of shareware games on the Internet, even the critically acclaimed ones such as those from Ambrosia Software, are based on some previous arcade classic. One of the most copied games around is Tetris, with its simple but addictive line-the-blocks-up-in-rows premise.
Adam: There sure are a lot of Tetris-like games out there! And they’re all played from a two-dimensional perspective. Now you may be wondering how else you can play Tetris. Well, you can play Tetris in 3D! Yes! 3Tris is played from a three-dimensional, first person perspective, making this game one of the most original shareware games that I’ve seen in a long time.
Mike: A few months ago, we reviewed some of the best Tetris “clones” out there, but none of those games really did anything to add to the Tetris genre. With 3Tris, Francesco M. Munafó has put an interesting and welcome twist on the game, coming up with a program that’s not only fun, but original.
With 3Tris, your task is to line up blocks and complete a whole layer so that they disappear, just like in any Tetris game. The difficult part is, you have to do so in three dimensions. That’s right, you’ve got blocks falling and covering a playing field that has height, width, and depth. You have to position the blocks accordingly, so that they complete not just rows, but entire floors!
Adam: When you choose “Start Game” from the actions menu, you’re asked to choose a level, from Level 0-9, 0 being the easiest, with 9 as the hardest. Like any Tetris game, the higher the level, the faster the pieces move. After you choose your level, you’re placed in a “tunnel,” and the pieces come from the front (where you are), and move towards the back. So what’s the big deal? Remember that this is a three-dimensional game, and in a three-dimensional game, you have THREE axis to worry about, not just two. Since I can’t explain that, here is a picture of the three ways to rotate the pieces.
When a piece hits the back wall, it turns dark purple. All other pieces that hit the back wall do the same, and when the whole back wall is purple, the purple layer disappears, and the next row, light purple, falls onto the back wall, and in turn, turns dark purple. And, just like normal tetris, when the pieces pile up to the front of the “tunnel” (where you are at), a very weird guy says “You lost.”
Mike: The game is very nicely done: it looks great, sounds great, and controls great. My only complaint with the controls is by no means the fault of the game; I had a lot of trouble adjusting to having to rotate the blocks on the x, y, AND z axis, and often rotated them in ways which I didn’t mean, creating an absolute mess of a playing field.
Adam: There’s no entertaining music playing while you’re playing 3Tris, but believe me, you don’t want it. The game gets so confusing and so intense that, at times, you feel like punching your monitor! (I’ve done it). There’s sound though, and the sounds are very well done.
Mike: Another unique, if subtle, aspect of the game is its sense of humor. The author has placed a reminder of the $15 shareware fee in seemingly every other dialog box you run across; however, the reminders are done in such an obvious way that you can’t help but smile at them. These aren’t your typical pay-the-fee-if-you-you-like- the-game-or- else-you’re-a-bad-person reminders, believe you me. The unabashed and selfless way the author tries to flatter you into paying for the game (found in a dialog box you can access under the high score menu) ranks as my all-time favorite fee request. When you decide to quit the game, the resulting dialog box is equally amusing; the program begs you not to quit, and the button for cancelling the command is gargantuan when compared to the size of the button you click to actually quit the game.
Adam: That’s my favorite part! When you quit the game, the traditional box asking you if you’re sure you want to quit comes up. Well, the “No” button is the default, and it is bigger than the “yes” button. The first time I did this, it took me 3 tries to quit the game. AHHHHHH!!!
Other features of this game include a ‘next-piece’ box, which shows you what piece is coming next; a ‘level’ box, which tells you what level you are on, and a ‘score’ box, which tells you how many points you have. There’s also a high score list, and a general help section that I found very useful.
Mike: I like a well-thought out, playable game, I like originality, and I like a good sense of humor. This game certainly has all three. Although it may take some getting used to at first, if you’re even the slightest fan of Tetris-type games, I recommend you check out 3Tris. It’s a winner.
Adam: 3Tris is an awesome game. In fact, it’s one of the best and most original games I’ve seen in a long time. It takes some getting used to, and some skill, but once you get the hang of it, 3Tris will become one of your favorites. It’s a definite winner.
3Tris requires a monitor capable of displaying at least 16 grays or colors. It works fine on a 12″ RGB, and works with all PowerBooks. It requires around 430k of hard drive space and 384K of RAM; a very small footprint for such a great game.
3Tris is available on America Online by doing a keyword software search for “3Tris”, and on the Internet, at the Info-Mac Hyperarchive, and at the My Mac Software Library, http://www.mymac.com/software in the games section. 3Tris is well worth the $15.00 shareware fee, but if you decide not to pay it right away, you’ll laugh every time a dialog box comes up.
Download 3Tris 2.1.1