App Notes: Threes for iOS, a Confounding Puzzle Game

2014-02-06 14.02.12.pngI’ve never been a big game player, and the games that attract me on my iPhone or iPad are generally the kind that contain puzzles. I like word games, such as Letterpress, and I’m a big backgammon player, and very much like Backgammon NJ HD.

A new game called Threes, just released today for $2 (1/3 off for its launch period) has caught my attention. It’s a puzzler, where you have to think about how to get the highest score. The game is based on multiples of three. There are tiles in a 4×4 grid, and they can be 1, 2 (1+2=3), 3, 6, 12, 24, 48, 96 and so on. You play the game by swiping in any of four directions; when you swipe, all the tiles that can move – that are not against the border of the grid – move in that direction.

Swiping allows you to add tiles together. So, if a 2 and a 1 are next to each other, and you swipe, they join to become a 3. From then one, you can only join tiles of the same value. So two 12s make a 24; two 48s make a 96.

As you go on, there’s less room on the grid, and when the grid is full, the game is over. Your score is calculated by adding up the points on the board, with bonuses for those tiles that are 24 or above. My high score so far is around 2,600, but someone I know – who alerted me to this game – currently has the world’s best score of over 23,000.

It’s a tough game, one that starts out easy, but becomes more complex as you realize the subtleties of strategy necessary to get high scores. But it’s one you can play at your rhythm, and use to pass the time when you’ve got a few minutes. It’s well worth the price at $2.