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Tetris Effect: The 10 Hardest Levels, Ranked | ScreenRant

Despite the serene and even relaxed vibe it radiates at times, Monstars and Resonair's puzzle romp Tetris Effect has its share of intense, deceptively tough trials.

With its range of unique game modes and a fairly extensive campaign, this musical, atmospheric take on Tetris has a number of stages and scenarios that will test players' skills and mettle. These bouts often channel those retro arcade days — which featured grueling games designed to eat stacks of players' quarters.

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But which amongst this diverse, appealing lineup of stages are the hardest?

10 Purify

Like many of the Effect Mode games, Purify is a scramble to notch a high score rather than a fight for survival. Thus, it doesn't really enable one to "lose," mitigating much of the difficulty right off the bat.

At the same time, though, successfully navigating the barrage of garbage and "infected" blocks that litter the screen can be a bit tricky. The primary goal is to wipe out as many of the purple infected blocks as possible. But players can create ample clutter rather quickly in the pursuit of targeting these pieces, making it tougher to get to them as they get increasingly buried.

9 Celebration

Effect Modes offer a number of uniquely tricky trials, but the more standard Journey Mode also has some sweat-inducing romps. This is especially the case once the punishing Expert level is unlocked. But to be clear, the focus here will be on the default Normal mode, which still has its share of tricky bouts.

One example is the deceptively cheery "Celebration," whose speed ramps up so sharply that flubs are almost guaranteed. The party picks up in a major way and will have many unprepared by the crazy escalation. Blunders are made even more likely by the vibrant explosions of distracting fireworks in the distance.

8 Countdown

On the surface, the notion of sporadically falling I tetrominoes doesn't seem too big a deal. But these elongated pieces can prove quite the bother when they begin to pile up — and they do so fairly quickly.

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Hastily cobbling together pieces for high scores can be intense as is. But the added factor of the I blocks — which drop long-ways every several seconds — can make for a particularly tough, disruptive experience. This intensity gets dialed up even more as the game progresses, as the tetrominoes will start dropping in pairs, further adding to the mess.

7 Target

Similar to the Effect Modes game known as Purify, Target fittingly has players aiming for randomly placed blocks while simultaneously dealing with the usual block assembly and cleanup. What's particularly bothersome is here is that — in addition to the blocks of interest, extra garbage pieces will often crop up around them.

This instantly adds quite a bit of clutter to the screen, but it also brings obstacles that players are forced to work around. Getting at least a passing grade of D or C proves manageable enough, but the higher ranks can be very tough to achieve, especially the "SS" level which takes a whopping 30 individual target clears.

6 All Clear

Unlike most of the frantic, action-oriented stages, this one takes a more strategic, methodical approach befitting a more nuanced puzzler. It forces the player to think in a different way compared to the twitch gameplay and lightning speeds that normal Tetris invokes.

The name of the game is to work through a pre-arranged set of block layouts while using a few pre-determined pieces to fill in gaps and wipe them out in one fell swoop. While this may seem straightforward, the kicker is that the player gets but one shot to nail everything correctly. If the lines clear in such a way that the remaining tetrominoes can't eliminate the rest, the progress of the screen is negated and the game shifts to a new one.

Some of these rapid-fire scenes prove simple, but others take some pondering to properly dole out where each piece needs to fit in the sequence. Players will often need to factor in falling blocks after a line clear too, which further complicates things.

5 Hula Soul

This tropical-themed bongo jam from Journey Mode has a knack for blindsiding many that play it.

The first third of the run starts out fairly slow, but this just serves to deceive its players and lull them into a false sense of security. The mild, manageable pace soon gives way to lightning speed, as both the music and falling tetrominoes vastly ramp up. In fact, the end portion of this level is one of the speediest bouts in Normal Mode, bested only by the final two stages.

Added to this are the glowing eruptions of volcanic lava in the distance, which often prove a bit distracting.

4 Mystery

Roguelike buffs will likely point to the random elements as the source for their notorious difficulty. The same can be said for this array of Tetris curveballs, which resides in Effect Modes.

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The toughness in the fittingly-titled "Mystery" is the unpredictable nature of the gameplay. Players will be forced to deal with sporadic elements that alter the mechanics or conditions for a bit — most of which are negative. Examples include intrusive giant pieces, disruptive bombs, and the removal of the "hold" feature. These unforeseeable factors can make it tough for players to strategize and be swift.

3 Stratosphere

Players shouldn't be fooled by the serene backdrop of this atmospheric romp — it proves one of the most grueling bouts of the game. Juxtaposed with a peaceful airborne view and flying doves is a barrage of rapidly dropping tetrominoes.

Rather than ease players in like most Journey Mode levels, this one soars right into the action, allowing little time to get settled, and continuing to pick up as it goes.

2 Metamorphosis

It makes sense that the final stage of Journey Mode would test the mettle of players, but this one proves particularly tough compared to most stages.

The game is an absolute marathon, upping the ante to an elimination requirement of 90 lines compared to the 30-odd lines of most stages. Not only this, but the pieces also fall at a rapid rate for most of the stage, offering just a bit of respite in the middle portion. Spending minutes managing blocks falling at near-freefall is no easy feat.

The appealing track — Hydelic's "Always Been But Never Dreamed" — serves as an audible cue as to the shifting pace of the stage, which escalates in depth and intensity as it quickens. This at least offers a bit of forewarning when the stage hits a frantic pace. Even so, Metamorphosis is likely to take several tries to survive.

1 Master

The vibrant flashing lights in the background should give an indication as to just how crazy this trial can be. As the title implies, it generally takes a Tetris master to complete this test of speed and endurance.

The requirement of notching 300 lines is daunting as is, but added to this is the constantly escalating speed, leveling off at a whopping 30 paces. Making it through the end of this marathon requires picture-perfect placements and lightning-fast reaction times.

Thankfully, players will still register a rank if enough lines are cleared; 150 yields a coveted "SS" rank. But clearing all 300 for an official completion is simply in its own league difficulty-wise.

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