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Falling Blocks

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One of the most common types of Puzzle Games, particularly console video games.

A series of multicolored blocks falls onto the playing area from the top of the screen. As they fall, the player has to move or flip them, arranging them in a certain way in order to make them disappear. If the pile reaches the top of the screen, the game ends.

Many of these games have two-player competitive variations, where high scoring will sabotage the other player's area in one way or another. A common way is "Junk Blocks": Blocks (usually black or grey in color) that take up space and are often hard to remove.

Most Falling Blocks games feature Difficulty by Acceleration, though in some games throw a wrench or two into the works as the player levels up.


  • This type of game was popularized by Tetris, and every game since has built on the formula in various ways. In Tetris, The blocks fall in configurations of four, and the player has to make a continuous line of blocks to make them disappear.
    • In some versions of Tetris (Tetris DS and Tetris: The Grand Master, for instance), pieces don't even bother falling once you hit higher levels; they instantly hit the stack.
    • In Tetrisphere, the player plays from a top-down perspective of the falling piece.
  • In Sega's classic Columns, the player arranges sets of gems into lines of three or more.
  • Puyo Puyo:
    • The series features blobs, which are arranged into groups of four or more—unlike many, they don't actually have to be lined up, just connected horizontally and vertically. Puyo Puyo created the template that most Player Versus Player-driven puzzle games follow through both its Garbage Puyos ("Junk" blocks that fall onto the opponent's playing field) and its colorful cast of characters.
    • Puyo Puyo Tetris is a crossover between Puyo Puyo and Tetris. Not only can you mix-and-match gameplay types in versus matches, but it also features two entirely new modes of play:
      • Swap Mode has players play both Tetris and Puyo Puyo, swapping between the two at random intervals.
      • Fusion mode is an entirely new puzzle game where you have to both create lines of Tetriminos and match up Puyos on the same board. While the Tetrominoes are much larger than normal, they can squish Puyos that they land on, sending them to the top of the board.
  • Gorby's Pipeline, a more obscure title also developed by Compile, can be described as Tetris meets Pipe Mania!!.
  • After Compile lost the Puyo Puyo franchise to Sega, it made a Creator-Driven Successor called Pochi and Nyaa, which plays rather similarly.
  • Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo also uses gems, but rather than just lining them up, you have to use special "crash gems" that will destroy any adjacent gems of the same color. Another twist in the game was that the Junk Blocks had a countdown, and turned into regular blocks when it ran out. This gave a struggling player the chance to make a comeback if they survived long enough. Each character you could choose also had their own pattern to the Junk Block drops, adding a touch of strategy to the game. Its successor Crystal Crisis, follows the same formula except with a few unique mechanics of its own (namely, wrapping crystals from one side of the board to the other and character-specific Limit Breaks).
  • Dr. Mario features Mario killing viruses by dropping colored pills on top of them to line up viruses and pill halves into sets of four or more.
  • Lumines features blocks of squares (or is that squares of blocks?) that are eliminated by a moving line when they are arranged into blocks/squares of all the same color.
  • Mario Party:
    • Mario Party 9: Castle Clearout is a puzzle minigame that appears in the Extras section of the menu that can be played with one or two players. Players drop groups of three colored marbles into a playing field, and must connect six marbles of the same color in order to eliminate them from the playing field. In the one player mode, players can play through 50 stages with the objective of eliminating marbles with stars on them, while in two player mode, the goal is to outlast the opponent. If the player creates a group of six marbles in the shape of a line, triangle, or hexagon, all marbles of the same color will be eliminated at once in one player mode, or extra marbles will fall into their opponent's field in two player mode.
    • Mario Party 10: Jewel Drop is a puzzle minigame found in the Bonus section of the menu. Players drop crystals into a playing field in groups of three at a time, and must connect four of the same color to remove them. Occasionally, players can remove a star crystal, which will allow them to shake the playing field and shuffle all the crystals around, potentially destroying even more of them.
  • Meteos had falling blocks, but was unique that instead of just vanishing when aligned, they attempted to blast back up off the top of the screen. Also of note is the fact that the blocks could not be moved while falling, and once the blocks had landed, they could only be moved vertically. Horizontal movement was incorperated in the sequel, Meteos: Disney Magic.
  • "It is the nineties, and there is time for... Klax." This popular arcade game featured falling colored tiles, which were to be placed in "klaxes" (rows, columns, or diagonals of same-colored tiles) in a 5-by-5 grid. The real challenge was building complex formations that yielded big points, as klaxes made other tiles fall into scoring positions. Tiles could also be thrown back. Memorable for its quirky look and feel.
  • Audiosurf combines the concept with levels generated from your music files.
  • Arcade game Rampart was a variation of the falling blocks genre. The player is given several castles to defend against an invading navy. Using Tetris-like puzzle pieces, the players must surround one or more castles with walls within a limited time to keep playing. This earns the player cannons, which can be used to repel the invaders. The one-player game is fiendishly difficult, but a classic nonetheless.
  • There have been several attempts to move the gameplay of Tetris into three dimensions. Computer game Welltris was the first Tetris sequel made by the Tetris design team. The most popular arcade version of this concept was called Block Out.
  • A strange variation on the Falling Blocks genre was Hatris, in which the player manuevers mismatched pairs of hats onto heads at the bottom of the screen. Placing five consecutive hats of the same type onto a head makes the hats disappear, and scores points for the player. Created by Alexey Pajitnov, one of the creators of Tetris.
  • A bizarre twist on the falling-block game occurs in Friel. You maneuver pairs of monsters into a smallish grid, trying to make them disappear. How do you get them to vanish? No sort of in-a-row or adjacency requirements — monsters vanish when there are five of the same one in any given 3x3 square.
  • Trash Panic, except the "blocks" are garbage.
  • Irisu Syndrome! combines this with a basic physics engine. The player must shoot little white blocks into shapes that fall into the playing area to combine those of the same color. Hitting shapes the wrong way causes them to become "dead", clogs up the field and depletes the timer.
  • The cartridge packaged with the SNES Super Scope had Blastris A and Blastris B. The former was a Tetris-like where the player shot parts of the blocks off instead of rotating them, the latter was more of a Columns/Dr. Mario-like.
  • Another variation is the Mr. Driller series, where the blocks have already fallen, and your job is to dig through them. Of course, your digging can shake them loose again, and cause them to fall on you. Blocks of the same color will stick together if they come in contact (and will all vanish at once when you drill them, and sets that fall into arrangements of four or more will disappear. The trick is in using these rules to not only score points, but more importantly to clear out large numbers of blocks and/or keep them from squashing you.
  • Yet another variation is Konami's Quarth, where the player doesn't control the falling blocks; instead, a Shoot 'Em Up type ship is used to shoot down the block formations as they inch toward the player's doom.
  • Pac-Attack had Pac-Man and ghosts packaged in with Tetris-like blocks. You must set ghost over the blocks such that it forms a path that both lets Pac-Man eat a long string of ghosts and collapses blocks into full lines to clear them.
  • Gussun Oyoyo gives the player control over falling blocks, but arranging them into lines or other formations is not at all the object. Instead, they have to be placed to help Gussun make a Lemmings-style progress to the Level Goal.
  • Critical Mass is a variant—instead of falling automatically, you manually place the blocks on the cube; the cube gradually expands until it bursts.
  • Slydris has horizontal blocks of various widths that drop from the top of the screen in rows. Interestingly, you can slide the blocks that are about to drop just like you can the ones already on the board.
  • Cleopatra Fortune
  • Namco's Arcade Game Emeraldia has colored blocks whose tiles connect horizontally, vertically and diagonally to form chains. These chains can be cracked and then shattered by dropping tiles of the same color on top of them.
  • The Game Within a Game in the Sega CD port of The Adventures of Willy Beamish, "Monster Squad", combines this with Space Invaders-style shooting, tasking you with shooting away the blocks before they either box you in or destroy your cannon.
  • SegaSonic Bros. uses various re-colors of Sonic the Hedgehog that are dropped onto the playfield. If Sonics of one color are arranged to enclose in a circle (using the sides of the board if necessary), they are cleared. Interestingly, it was never given a commercial release after it failed a location test in Japan.
  • Suika Game is a puzzle game with falling fruits that turn into other fruit when two of the same fruit are combined.
  • The Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf Licensed Game Comet Battle, released for the Chinese Monon Color system, has you stack blobs and eliminate groups of them in matching colors by stacking potions of the same color onto them.
  • Bomberman: Panic Bomber has you line up Bomberman heads (by default), which you must match up in lines of three. Making matches spawns bombs at the bottom of the playfield which you can then detonate to clog the opponent's field.
  • Bal Cube is a similar concept to Quarth, but with Breakout-like gameplay. The player is tasked with bouncing a spinning cube on formations of blocks to destroy them. The blocks move downward everytime the cube bounces on the set of launchers on the bottom of the matrix, which also replaces the latest launcher used with a singular hole. A level is reset if the cube falls off the screen or if a block crashes onto the launchers.
  • Intelligent Qube is a horizontal take on the concept. Groups of blocks roll towards the protagonist on a long platform. The player must mark tiles on the field to erase each block, taking care to not get squashed and to avoid letting the blocks roll off the edge. Mistakes will cause the platform to crumble row by row, making gameplay even more difficult. The game ends in failure if the protagonist falls off into the void.
  • In Hot Wax, the blocks are arranged as the usual tetreminos but are cleared piece-by-piece by lightning the wicks on them with the fire pieces that appear every few turns. The longer a flame lasts without being snuffed out by a falling block, the more points it is worth.
  • Monster Slider features the option to tilt the field to either side to slide and further combo the falling blocks. Each character has a Limit Break to disrupt the opponent's field that is triggered by matching a special orb with any set of colored blocks.
  • Hako de Gucha ("Box de Splat", a pun on "Panel de Pon") is a Game Within a Game in Power Pro-kun Pocket 5. Three colors of blocks and unmatchable grey ones fall from the sky and you must maneuver Power Pro-kun around by climbing ladders, either pushing blocks of the same color together to clear them or punching useless ones out of the way while avoiding being Squashed Flat. Clearing every pre-set block on the field before the time runs out is worth bonus points.
  • In Tritris, the shapes are made out of configurations of three triangles. Every so often, three small triangles will drop in a row and they can be phased through gaps. When they are in play, cleared lines are only counted once the last small triangle is set, allowing the player to clear three lines at once. There is also Tritris Orange, a PICO-8 remake of it with a combo mechanic (and blocks colored orange instead of yellow).
  • In Mr. Blocko: Super Tournament Edition, you control a character around the screen as the blocks fall into the matrix. You must push them to make and clear full lines, with points being added only for the ones you have pushed and converted to your color.
  • In Super Puzzle Platformer, you control a gun-toting character around the screen as the blocks fall into the playing field. You must shoot blocks of the same color that are grouped together to damage them all at once and destroy them for Cave Story-like experience points to power up your gun. Various hazards fall around the field in increasingly complicated ways to shoot down until you get hit or stumble into the Spikes of Doom below. It started as a free web game and later got a commercial Deluxe remake.
  • In Egg Mania, you control a jumping egg creature around the field as the blocks fall. You must catch and set the blocks evenly on the stack to build a tower towards a balloon on the top of the arena before the opponent gets there first. If you get too hasty with making unstable structures to climb faster, the stack will collapse and cost you precious time.
  • Super Star Path plays like a conventional vertical shoot 'em up, but the randomly-generated enemies are effectively a wall of falling colored blocks. When a single enemy or a cluster of the same color is destroyed, enemies of different colors adjacent to them will be turned into unbreakable crystals, potentially blocking the player's entire path if they shoot too recklessly.

Alternative Title(s): Tetris Blocks