Do you hate productivity? Do you like to ignore the people in your life? If you answered yes to either of those, then Threes ($2.99, universal) should be right up your alley because really, this addictive and engrossing game is going to take up all of your time.
The Basics Of Threes
This puzzle game requires that you know addition, and here’s how it works: In a 4×4 grid, you have tiles with numbers on them. By swiping one tile on top of another, you can add them up—but there are rules:
- The 1 and 2 tiles can only be added with each other to form 3.
- From 3 onwards, you can only add tiles of the same number—so 3 adds with another 3 tile to become 6, a 6 with another 6 to become 12, and so on.
- Each “move” is a swipe up, down, left or right, where all of the tiles will move one grid position in that direction if there is room. If there isn’t room, a tile will either add up with the adjoining tile (following the rules above) or stay dormant.
- When you are moving, you can see which numbered tile is going to come next in the row or column that you initiated the swipe.
The objective of the game is to make larger and larger numbers so that your grid doesn’t get filled up. If you can’t swipe any more, it’s game over and your points are totalled up. Here’s a GIF that explains all this a bit better:
If this sounds easy, boy, you’re in for a surprise. While it’s not as difficult as ON/OFF, it’s still a major workout for your brain.
The Charm Offensive
Threes wins you over with its design and sound. Much like Letterpress and its minimalist design, Threes keeps the color scheme red, blue and white. There are small charming elements added, like little faces at the bottom of tiles or “characters” with fun stories attached to bigger numbers, which are unlocked with much fanfare when you first hit that number.
The game is scored by someone who worked on Black Ops 2 and Mass Effect 2, so it’s no surprise that it sounds fantastic, right down to the defiant “nuh-uh” of the tiles when they can’t slide any further.
As with all great puzzlers, a sense of competition is added through the use of a leaderboard. There’s no player-vs-player element here, but you can achieve major high scores, post them on social networks and claim your bragging rights.
Three Tips For Threes
I’ve been playing this game repeatedly, and I’ve learned a thing or two (or three):
- Try to put your big numbers in the corners and keep them there. It’ll help as the other numbers get bigger, trust me.
- With every swipe, try to ensure you can move in all four directions. If you can’t, make that the objective of the next swipe.
- Limit your second biggest number to a quarter of your biggest number. This involves taking the math of Threes a little further. Suppose your biggest number is 96. In that case, make sure you never have three tiles of the number 24 at the same time. It’ll get you into trouble.
Threes will make it to our list of best iPhone games before long, and for that you should definitely download it. It’s appropriately priced at just under $3, well worth it considering there are no ads and no in-app purchases or unlockables to hold you back.
Download: Threes for iOS ($2.99, universal)
If you have downloaded Threes, there’s only one question to be asked: what’s your high score?