I always start at level 9, game mode A.
At some point, whether it's based on time or the number of points, the blocks start falling so fast that the "down button" feature loses all meaning; it gets so intense that it rarely takes longer than a few minutes at the most before the game outspeeds my brain and it's game over for me.
This appears to happen roughly around 200,000 points. My record is just about 240,000 points, when it's already absolutely crazy how fast the blocks go.
(I cannot believe that there are people who are able to get 999,999 points. They must have super fast and focused brains. Even 300,000 seems infinitely far away for me; it took me seven months of bathroom breaks to reach 240,000 from my previous record: 230,000... I fear I've reached some sort of upper limit for my own Tetris skills, which probably aren't going to get better at this point.)
The manual is very vague and isn't clear on whether this is based on time or the number of points.
Basically, can I take my sweet time until a certain number of points, or is there an advantage in reaching a high score as fast as possible as well? I sort of assumed that it was time-based, but now I'm unsure. If it's time-based, that's another stress factor to take into consideration, and I'll probably reset even more often if such is the case. After all, it's much easier to get "Tetris strikes" (four rows at once) at level 9 compared to whatever level I'm on when it starts going super fast (I tend to only look at the score), so if it's indeed time-based, I'd want to get in as many such "strikes" as early as possible, before the game goes crazy on me.
(This game is truly addicting, and extremely satisfying.)