Made by Blazing Orb, Spaera is the indie spiritual successor to the 1993 SNES game Tetris Battle Gaiden. While the core of the gameplay largely remains the same, Spaera still makes changes both minor and major to the formula thus providing a much more balanced and strategic game overall. The beta can currently be downloaded for free on their website.
Much like Tetris Battle Gaiden, two players play a game of Tetris on their side of the board sharing the same next piece pool, clearing lines to send over garbage lines (a line with a one block gap somewhere in it) to the bottom of the opponent's board. Unlike Tetris Battle Gaiden, the garbage lines sent over is 1:1 (i.e. clearing one line will send over one garbage line, clearing two will send two, and so on).
In addition to the standard tetromino pieces as seen in Tetris, Spaera includes a few pentominoes (shapes arranged from five blocks) in its piece pool, specifically the I, T, W, and X shapes.
Also unique to this game is a speed level system for confirm drops. Like modern Tetris titles, the player is able to confirm drop their piece, however in this game, the piece will not instantaneously appear at the bottom. Instead it will fall at a still faster than normal, but not immediate rate. Performing combos of consecutively clearing lines will give a speed up; increasing the rate the piece will fall for a confirm drop getting to a near-instantaneous level at max speed.
Randomly, a piece may contain a magic orb and when a line with an orb in it is cleared the player will be able to use a magic ability, the effect of which varying on amount of orbs currently held (four being the maximum) and the character chosen.
The character's abilities are labelled and categorized into four different types: Attack, Defense, Technical, and Hindrance.
Attack abilities directly affect the opponent's board, such as adding garbage lines or affecting their placed pieces in some way.
Defense abilities aid the player, most commonly removing lines or moving them around to a more favorable arrangement.
Technical abilities are seen as situational being incredibly beneficial when used at the right time, but also possible to do either nothing or even harm the player when not.
Hindrance abilities are more geared to hindering or annoying the opponent in a more minor way than Attack abilities, usually affecting the opponent's currently active piece either in their control of the piece or the piece directly.
There are eight playable characters in Spaera.
A ninja/woodcutter of sorts, Tsubaki is a well-rounded character being one of the two only characters that has an ability of each type.
Level 1: Jungle Mirage (Hindrance)
The opponent's next piece will randomly change to a different one as shown in the preview panel above their board.
Level 2: Timberland Jutsu (Defense)
This ability is a bit of a combination of Defense and Attack, removing the two bottom lines from the player's board and sending them to the opponent's.
Level 3: All Your Orbs (Technical)
Tsubaki steals all of the opponent's currently held orbs (if any) and gives them to the player.
Level 4: Nature's Miracle (Attack)
From the highest point of the opponent's placed pieces, their entire board is inversed, shifting where gaps were into blocks and blocks into gaps.
Wielding a giant heat blade, Leon is perhaps the greatest swordfighter in the world of Spaera. However, he may also be the laziest swordfighter in the world of Spaera.
Level 1: Slothy Guard Stance (Defense)
Will immediately get rid of any incoming garbage lines upon activation and will prevent any more garbage lines from appearing during the next two pieces from the player.
Level 2: Swift My Sword (Defense)
This ability removes the top three lines from the player's placed pieces.
Level 3: Kogoro Stance (Defense)
For the duration of one piece dropped by the player, the intended effect of the opponent sending garbage lines are reversed; for every garbage line that the player is supposed to receive, lines are removed from the bottom of their board instead.
Level 4: Thrust of 9000+ (Technical)
Upon activation of the ability, when the player clears line, a cascade effect is applied to the entire board having all blocks fall down where they can, potentially clearing a ton more lines with a tall enough board. Magic orbs on the board are unaffected by the cascade and will remain where they are. This will last for the next two pieces.
Despite having a youthful appearance, Luna is an incredibly adept wizard being many ages old. Suiting her youthful appearance though, she is very mischievous, using her spells to mess with her opponents.
Level 1: Luna Eclipse (Hindrance)
Darkens out the opponent's entire board for about three pieces, having them only see what is illuminated by their current active piece.
Level 2: Ion Beam (Defense)
Clears two columns on the left and right sides of the board and cascades the rest of the blocks in the middle. Magic orbs on the board are unaffected by the cascade and will remain where they are.
Level 3: Curse of Venus (Attack)
Adds one garbage line of brick blocks (requiring the line to be cleared twice to be removed from the board) to the opponent's board upon activation and adds another garbage line of brick blocks for every piece dropped for the next three pieces.
Level 4: Luna Punishment (Attack)
Drops three garbage lines of brick blocks (needing two clears to remove) on top of the opponent's placed pieces.
Though a retired hero enjoying a life of leisure on his ranch, Pone is very much still able to hold his own and then some when called into combat.
Level 1: One Punch (Hindrance)
Momentarily reverses the opponent's controls; the movement controls are rotated 180° and the rotation buttons are switched.
Level 2: Sky Splitter (Defense)
Splits the player's board down the middle, pushing out the two outer most columns on each side while also cascading all the other blocks remaining on the board.
Level 3: Lava Geyser (Attack)
Adds four garbage lines to the opponent's board.
Level 4: 1000 Shattering Fists (Attack)
Removes numerous random blocks from the opponent's board, creating gaps scattered throughout their placed pieces.