Threes: A Cool New Puzzle Game – US$1.99 – Sirvo Games: iOS & Android
If you thought Flappy Birds could turn you into a raving basket-case, here’s a brand-new one to eviscerate all your patience and spare time.
Threes is a miniature puzzle game that will get your brain turning. The best I can describe it is that it’s like a series of arithmetic problems drawn on the blackboard by your most sadistic teacher, met up with the old board game Connect Four and then added a sprinkle of Flappy Birds, some whipped cream and a cherry on top.
The challenge is to collect as many points as possible by connecting cards with numbers on them. Connect a “1″ with a “2″ to create a “3,” and then after that, any card of “3″ or higher can be connected only to its matching double. (A 12 card + 12 card makes a 24 card. A 24 card added to a 24 card makes a 48 card… and so on.) So, basically the game is like many other matching challenges, where you need to connect two identical objects to receive points. If you’re still not getting it, think in terms of Candy Crush Saga, where this is carried through via two identical candies.
The player slides numbered tiles on a four-by-four grid to combine addends and multiples of three. E.g. ones and twos merge to become a single ‘three’ tile, two x threes merge into ‘six,’ two sixes merge into ‘12’. Swiping the screen up, down, left, or right moves the tiles on the grid in your desired direction, and then you can add a new tile to the grid in the same direction. The color of the incoming tile is then shown onscreen. Consequently, players can preview moves by sliding the grid without letting go. Each kind of number tile has its own personality, and new kinds of number tiles are introduced with a screen full of brazen wild confetti when it’s at first unlocked.
Games of Threes typically only last several four or five minutes and end when there are no moves left on the grid. When a game ends, there is no ‘fink’ or ‘game over’ screen. Players receive a final score based on the rarity of the tiles, rather than their tile number values
Unlike Candy Crush Saga, a game that persuades you you’re the odd man out in a sleazy tavern in Flint, Michigan, where’s there’s a pool of stagnant urine you have to saunter across just to reach the bathroom, Threes makes you think of a classier juke joint in Vegas with Louis Prima and Keely Smith serenading each other through the speakers. Threes is beautifully designed with a simple flat Van Der Rohe-ish interface that you move gently back and forth with your thumb. The Threes soundtrack is nice and gentle, too. The music sounds like something Uncle Fester would compose for an Addams Family episode, emitting additionally farting, muffled screams, burping, giggling and groaning.
The three founders of Sirvo were the producers of another excellent game called Puzzle Juice before Threes. They were game designer Asher Vollmer, composer and arranger, Jim Hinson and illustrator Greg Wohlwend, who promise on their website that this game is going to “grow your brain beyond imagination!” In other words, the game might, umm, be good for your brain.
Should you become good at Threes, Kotaku, the gaming website, can show you different ideas and handy tricks to help you get your score into the 20,000 point range consistently. I haven’t had much luck with these tips, though. I keep getting overly excited when I match up a high card and then it’s all down hill for me from there.
According to the L.A, Times, a number of outside developers have been cloning Threes within weeks of its release, including an Android app Fives, another iPhone game, 1024, which advertised itself as “No need to pay for Threes.” It was also recently adapted to be a browser version, 2048. How and why these game ghouls are able to get away with ripping off Sirvo seems wrong-headed and unfair.