I love Tetris, it’s one of my favourite puzzle games ever made, it’s a simple and at times an addictive game…that’s somehow getting a movie? But that’s something to talk about for another day, because I’m going to play a clone that strips all simplicity and for the lack of a better word, sense.
Pyramid, developed and published by Sachen in Taiwan in 1990 but was also published by American Video Entertainment in 1992, yes the same company who also released Wally Bear and the NO! Gang. Pyramid is a puzzle game like Tetris except for one difference. While the gameplay is the same, matching lines to make it disappear, the blocks are not blocks but triangle shapes.
Now this is where my experience with Pyramid is mixed. In my opinion it’s nice to make a clone that does spice up the gameplay just by changing one component of the game. However, it has to done in a way that actually makes sense, this doesn’t for the most part.
With Tetris blocks you quickly know where the shape will go. With Pyramid however, you think that the shape will fit only to realise that the shape is too small and you mess up. And they’re not simple shapes, they’re weirdly shaped triangle squared things and even then, trying to make a line is very difficult and thus, losing immersion that Tetris has and you end up getting confused. You can also change the speed to your liking but when I changed speeds it actually got impossibly confusing the faster it got, the blocks fell fast, positioning them was still slow, it’s very imbalanced and again, makes no sense.
The graphics are actually good, very similar to Tetris but decent nonetheless, mostly because they’re still images apart from the clouds moving which is a neat feature, pasting an Egyptian theme on it and you have Pyramid. The music fits the game but feels too bombastic and becomes forgettable after a short period of time playing.
Overall, it’s a nice try from Sachen but Pyramid doesn’t work as a puzzle game, it’s not simple enough to be Tetris, the generic Egyptian theme doesn’t make it special, it’s not a bad game and some people might like it but it has no appeal for me to come back to it. The graphics are nice and the music’s not too bad. Pyramid is one of those games those obscurity will be buried under a gaming pyramid with all the other cheaply made software.
You can get it on the NES.