Daedalian Opus Wants to be Tetris, but Falls Short

Daedalian Opus is a puzzle game that shares some similarities to Tetris. Both games have blocks you try to fit into a field of play. They have their roots in other puzzle games like Pentominoes.

When I first looked at this game, I thought it was similar to an early prototype of Tetris. This version was called Genetic Engineering and had you fitting the tetrominos into a box. Once you completed this, the game was over.

Daedalian Opus plays similarly to that early prototype but adds more shapes as the game progresses. It isn’t a bad idea.  

TLDR: If you’re tired of Tetris, Daedalian Opus will remind you how good Tetris is.


I wanted to find out what the origins of this game were. My mind went to the early prototype of Tetris, inspired by a pentomino jigsaw puzzle. The two are very similar.

The name of the game is probably meant to refer to Daedalus. He is the person who, according to Greek myths, created the Labyrinth on Crete, where the Minotaur was kept. He also made wings to escape the island with his son Icarus. As far as I can tell, neither of these stories ties into the game.

While researching this, I found that EGM said this game and Heiankyo Alien were named the Worst Name for a Game. This could be true if you only played a few games that year and didn’t bother to learn anything about them.

The game was released in Japan and North America in July 1990. Europe was spared this game, even though it isn’t as bad as other games inflicted on that market.

Some of the reviews are a little funny. Aside from that, there isn’t much information on the game. Vic Tokai developed and published the game, and then it seems like they forgot about it, as many others did.  


The game has you fitting shapes into a block. You aim to fill the block with as many of your shapes as needed. You don’t have to use all of them and see which shapes fit where is part of the fun.

It took me some time to get the hang of the controls. I know that sounds strange for a puzzle game, but this is one of those cases where the developers tried to be a bit too creative. You have to use the Start and Select buttons to move the shapes into the correct position. Here is a rundown of the controls:

  • A Button – picks up and puts down a shape
  • B Button – rotates the shape 90 degrees
  • Start Button – flips the shape horizontally
  • Select – flips the shape vertically

Thankfully, you can bring up the controls before you start the game. This was a huge help for me because I didn’t have the manual.

From here, it is a straightforward game. There are 36 levels, and the game uses a four-letter password system if you don’t want to finish it in one sitting. Each level adds a new shape, and the box you must fill gets bigger.


There isn’t much to say here. The playing field looks fine. Once you get to the transition screens, the visuals pick up a bit.

 In between levels, you have to walk a character from one building to the next. This is also where the new pieces are introduced. It is a strange part of the game. It is one of those things that doesn’t need to be in the game, but I’m glad it is here because I find it charming.

The game looks fine for an early 90s Game Boy game. It didn’t need to be anything special. The best thing that I can say is that the graphics get the job done.

7/10. It is an okay game. You’ll probably like this game if you’re good at or enjoy jigsaw puzzles. I can see it being fun back in the 90s, but it made me want to play Tetris.


I’m not sure about this one. It was okay, but that was about it. There wasn’t anything great about it, and it made me want to play Tetris.

Daedalian Opus isn’t a bad game. It is a challenging puzzle game that I can see some people enjoying before putting it in a box with other games they’ve forgotten about. It could also be a bit difficult for some kids who don’t have the patience for it.

This would have been a decent replacement if you didn’t have Tetris on the Game Boy.

Published by Paul Werkema

Hi! I'm here to share my hobbies with all of you. I love video games and books, so I write about the books that cover video games or are novels about video games.

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