The Xbox Series X launched to a lot of fanfare, but there's something that took some air out of the excitement. There wasn't a particularly impressive launch lineup. In fact, Microsoft's new hardware didn't have a single exclusive title that users couldn't also get on either PC or the last-gen Xbox One. However, out of the launch lineup, there's one game that stood out above the rest and that's Tetris Effect: Connected.
Is this a cheat of a pick? It is, kind of. The core Tetris Effect is technically a 2019 title. However, an exception was made here for a couple of reasons. The combination of Tetris Effect hitting Xbox platforms for the first time with the substantial nature of the Connected update made this feel like a noticeably greater product than the 2019 original. And given that the 2019 original took home a lot of Shacknews awards, that's pretty remarkable.
Enhance didn't phone it in with Connected's multiplayer features. It has a lot to offer for all sorts of Tetris players. The co-op feature is a unique idea, tasking players with combining their Tetris prowess to take on powerful bosses. The idea of Tetris implementing big-time bosses is a cool one and players having to come together to overcome them was a lot of fun.
There's also a lot for competitive players to dive into. Players can put their skills to the test, mastering the newer Tetris Effect mechanics and trying to match an opponent high score for high score. If that's not enough, there's even a game mode in here for Tetris purists. Yes, if you grew up on old-school NES Tetris without newfangled mechanics meant to hold the player's hand, there's even a multiplayer mode just for you.
What makes Connected the ideal launch game for something like the Series X is that it's a sight to behold in 4K HDR. The colorful settings, the bright lighting, the gorgeous particle effects, and so much more make this a visual marvel. It's really the perfect game to show off what this console is capable of putting out there. PlayStation, Epic Games Store, and Oculus users should feel excited about this update that's heading their way next summer.
Check out the other winners from The Shacknews Awards 2020 in our Year of the Games: 2020 article.