Two dots are better than one? Why yes, yes they are. One is the loneliest number, after all, so Betaworks One developed a follow-up to the simply-named game, Dots: A Game About Connecting, and logically called this sequel Two Dots.
This addictive puzzler has the player connecting as many of the same-colored dots as possible in one fell swoop. Players have to link a minimum of two vertical or horizontal dots together. The more dots you link, the more points you get. While early levels can be defeated with relative ease, after a few stages you’ll need to use that brain of yours to link as many huge chains together, as your number of moves is limited.
This free-to-play game offers a monstrous 85 levels for you to play, and, yet, does so without poking you in the eyeballs with a single ad. So what’s the catch? Lives, dear player, are the catch. You start with five, losing one every time you have to retry a stage, and it takes 20 minutes to refill one or $0.99 to buy five, which is pretty standard for these sorts of games. Power-ups and extra moves are also available for the same price, but only if you fail a level. Again, this is pretty reasonable, not to mention how refreshing it is to not be bombarded with prompts to buy these things until you actually need them. Even then, it’s all optional and in-app purchases can be turned off if you’re absolutely sure you don’t want to spend any cash. Like most free-to-play games, you can link your social networking accounts to Two Dots, but here it’s offered as a means of comparing scores with your friends rather than badgering you into doing it for gems/coins. All free-to-play games should take such cues from Two Dots.
Two Dots differs from its predecessor in several ways. Rather than offer different game modes, like endless or timer, level mechanics vary from one to the next, are all untimed, and are unlocked in a directly linear pattern. When making a line of dots, if you, instead, make a square, all other dots of the same color are eliminated— a technique that’s a downright requirement for certain, high-intensity stages. Speaking of such things, interspersed throughout are surprisingly difficult levels where you may spend all your lives, then fly through the next six levels without a problem. It can get a bit frustrating, but not glass-breaking frustrating.
It’s not all about the dots though. There are other goals like getting anchors down to the bottom of the screen, or putting out fires, which again, can get a little frustrating, as these special mechanics increase the difficulty. There’s a nice variety of locales for a connect-the-dots game, with underwater stages, fiery jungles, and arctic tundras. No matter where a level takes place, Two Dots’ art direction stays beautifully minimalistic but with plenty of variation to keep things from getting stale to the eyes. Two Dots’ music is wonderful; in no time you’ll find yourself nodding along or tapping your foot to the beat of the calm, catchy tunes. Connecting dots creates harmonizing tones, too, soothing you even when things are heating up.
Connecting the dots has never been as much fun as it is in Two Dots. Despite the occasional difficulty spike, Two Dots soothing music, simple, yet appealing graphics, and rewarding gameplay make for a heck of a good time in a cute, bite-sized package.
This review is based on a downloaded copy of Two Dots for iOS.