One of the surprise announcements from yesterday's Nintendo Direct presentation was that of Tetris 99. The game pits 99 players against each other in battle royale style gameplay where players must remove lines of blocks from the screen in order to be the last one standing. The game may have seemed odd, but it looks as if Tetris 99 is already proving to be quite popular.
Tetris 99's Nintendo Switch download figures haven't been revealed yet, but the battle royale game seems to be a hit with streamers and stream viewers. As of the time of writing, the new battle royale game has more than 40,000 viewers on Twitch. While lots of smaller streamers appear to be enjoying the game, Twitch streamer Forsen, who has more than one million followers on the livestreaming platform, is broadcasting Tetris 99 to more than 13,000 people.
The Tetris category of games on Twitch usually averages about 50 players a night (over the last week some nights have seen zero viewers). However, according to data from SullyGnome, this skyrocketed following the release of Tetris 99 yesterday. At 12:00 AM today, the game was being broadcast by 155 people to just over 9,000 viewers.
It's not major news that the battle royale game genre as a whole is incredibly popular. Epic Games battle royale title Fortnite has more than 200 million players, and is regularly streamed to more than 100,000 people. Respawn Entertainment's Apex Legends has also proved to be a hit on Twitch, with the streaming platform even hosting an Apex Legends tournament. That said, it is impressive that Tetris 99 has managed to capitalize on that, by being an entertaining game that is as enjoyable to watch as it is to play.
Fans of the long-running puzzle franchise will also be impressed by the ability to keep innovating on the block-matching formula. Last year, VR puzzler Tetris Effect was released to critical acclaim, with the game even winning awards at the Game Critics Awards. Few will have expected that the game could reinvent itself again–not least with a battle royale mode–but Tetris 99 somehow seems to have pulled it off.
It's unclear whether Tetris 99 will have staying power, as the active player base of games can often be volatile. Nevertheless, the game doesn't seem to have many direct competitors. Fortnite, Apex Legends, and PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds are all battle royale shooters, so Tetris 99 may well have created and cornered the market on battle royale puzzle games.
Tetris 99 is available exclusively on Nintendo Switch.