Threes Review (iOS)
Simplicity in video games is an easy concept in design but a tough one to execute. Most titles that have stood the test of time were simple in design, yet complex in their mastery. Every game developer has tried to create the next big hit using this formula. While most have failed, there are some who managed to create something that resonates and sticks with both kids and adults. Threes is one of those games.
Threes is a simple puzzler with one goal -- get the highest score you possibly can. Do this by sliding numbered tiles on a 4X4 grid. A quick tutorial gets you right into the action, and by quick, I mean a minute at most. When you slide a tile on the grid, you'll move all of the other tiles as well. You're trying to increase the size of the numbers on the board, which, at the end, increases your overall score.
You start out with 1s and 2s. Slide these tiles together to create a 3 tile. Slide two 3 tiles together to create a 6 tile, and so on and so on. Now, here's the tricky part... numbers 3 and higher can only be slid together if they're the same numbered tile. You cannot slide a 3 onto a 6. You can only slide a 3 onto a 3. When that becomes a 6, you can only slide that tile onto another 6 tile. How high can you double up the tiles? That right there is the challenge.
Once the board fills up, it's game over and your score is tallied. Were you able to beat your high score? Lucky for you, Threes keeps track of your progress. While it sounds like a fun idea at first, you might be thinking that this is something that would bore you after a couple of tries. It won't. Threes is surprisingly addictive. The kind of addictive that doesn't make you want to play again because you're frustrated, like the Candy Crushes and Flappy Birds of the App Store, but the kind that makes you want to play again because you know you can do better.
What makes Threes so incredibly charming is each tile has its own personality. They say cute little quips and words when you combine them together. This helps you become attached to the game you're playing. Instead of just sliding around blank tiles, you can imagine you're sliding around living, breathing ones. They'll even give you a heads up if you're making a bad move.
Threes was designed by Asher Vollmer, illustrated by Ridiculous Fishing's Greg Wohlwend, and scored by Black Ops 2 and Mass Effect 2's Jimmy Hinson. These three (this number is everywhere), are a wonderful gaming trio and their individual contributions are seen and heard as you play.
The only problem I have with Threes is there aren't enough game modes. You have the main puzzle mode where you try and achieve a high score, and that's it. There are Game Center achievements, but that's not enough. Neither are the Challenges, where you can dare your friends to beat your high score, or the number of tiles you accumulated on your grid.
A Timed or Limited Move mode would have been nice. Maybe a multiplayer component where you're playing against another player and you have to get the highest score possible in a minute? Don't get me wrong, Threes is a great purchase and once you buy the game, you've bought it. There are no in-app purchases being thrown at you and no ads to look at. Still, more modes would have been great. Perhaps they'll add some in a future update.
Threes is a great mix of simplicity, style and fun. Even if you hate math and numbers, you'll dig this. I was really surprised by how many times I kept coming back to Threes. Each time I played, I got better and better at strategically planning where to slide my tiles. And even if I messed up, I didn't care. I knew I could dive right back in and try again. Slide over Tetris, I've got a new puzzle game to try and master.
This review was completed using a purchased copy of Threes on iOS.