How to Play Tetris 99 on Nintendo Switch

Tetris tips to enjoy this free multiplayer game

Tetris 99 is an official Tetris game for Nintendo Switch. Released as a free title for all Nintendo Switch Online subscribers, this version of Tetris on Switch features a 99-player online multiplayer mode.

You can download Tetris 99 from the Nintendo eShop, but a Nintendo Switch Online membership is required to play the online multiplayer mode.

Tetris 99 video game on Nintendo Switch
Nintendo

What Is Tetris 99?

Tetris 99 is based on the classic puzzle game Tetris, which gained mainstream popularity when it debuted on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1989. Various Tetris games have experimented with online multiplayer modes, but Tetris 99 is the first one in the franchise to support online matches with as many as 99 people.

In that regard, Tetris 99 is similar to popular battle royale video games such as Fortnite, which also pits players against each other in a fight to be the last person standing. While most battle royale games are action titles, Tetris 99 is often referred to as a battle royale puzzle game.

A few months after Tetris 99 was released, several offline modes were added as downloadable content (DLC). The Big Block DLC bundle adds traditional local multiplayer modes for up to eight players on one Nintendo Switch and a variety of challenging modes for solo players.

Where Can You Download Tetris 99?

Tetris 99 is available for free from the Nintendo eShop on the Nintendo Switch. The Big Block DLC can also be purchased from the main title’s product page in the eShop.

You can also purchase a physical copy of Tetris 99 in stores or online. This version of the game contains the online battle royale mode and all of the content from the Big Block DLC. The game and its DLC are also available from the official Tetris 99 website.

Tetris 99 is exclusive to the Nintendo Switch and is not available anywhere else. Any smartphone apps or internet downloads using the name Tetris 99 are likely fake and could contain dangerous malware or viruses.

Do You Need Nintendo Switch Online to Play Tetris 99?

An active Nintendo Switch Online membership is still required to play almost all online video games and modes on the Nintendo Switch, including the Tetris 99 battle royale puzzle mode. If you cancel your Nintendo Switch Online membership, you can no longer play any of Tetris 99's online multiplayer modes.

How to Play Tetris 99

The goal in Tetris 99 is the same as any other version of Tetris. As blocks (officially referred to as Tetriminos) fall from the top of the screen, the player must move them with the direction buttons and form complete horizontal lines.

When a horizontal line is formed, that line of Tetriminos disappears, and the remaining blocks move down to take their place. As you clear lines of blocks, you’ll earn points and gradually progress through higher levels, which will drop more blocks on you at faster speeds. If you fail to form complete lines, your Tetriminos will pile up and eventually reach the top of the screen. When this happens, it’s game over.

Tetris 99 2P Share Battle Mode.
Nintendo

Tap Up on the D-pad to make blocks fall faster once you have them lined up. This maneuver, referred to as a hard drop, can dramatically speed things up.

Tetris 99 Multiplayer Options

In multiplayer games, the Tetriminos you clear get teleported to an opponent’s screen and push their blocks higher, which increases their chances of losing (thus improving your chances of winning). This block allocation is random by default, but you can manually select which players receive your discarded Tetriminos.

Use the left joystick to target another player manually, or tap the right joystick to choose from the following options:

  • Random: Send your cleared blocks to a random player.
  • K.O.s: Send your block to players who are close to losing.
  • Badges: Send your blocks to the player with the most K.O. badges.
  • Attackers: Send blocks at players who are targeting you.

K.O. badges are awarded when you defeat other players by sending them blocks. If you defeat someone, you get their badges. The more badges you have, the more powerful your attacks become.

Tetris 99 Single Player Options

Almost all of the additional offline modes in Tetris 99 are identical to the online battle royal mode. The only difference is that they feature computer-controlled players instead of real online opponents. One exception is Marathon mode, which plays just like the original Tetris with no opponents or targeting requirements.

What's a T-Spin in Tetris?

While playing Tetris, it’s possible to quickly shift blocks left or right as they’re falling, thus allowing you to squeeze blocks into places they wouldn’t typically fit. Sometimes, a last-minute rotation is needed to get them into place.

When this trick is done with a T block (the Tetrimino that looks like the letter T), the move is called a T-spin. T-spins are popular with Tetris players as they usually take a bit of practice to pull off due to the challenging shape of the T-block. Perfecting the T Spin isn’t really required to be a pro Tetris player, or even to win matches, but it can be useful for getting out of a jam as the available spots begin to fill up.

A T-block Tetromino in Tetris 99 on Nintendo Switch doing a T spin..
Nintendo