Threes: a charming and addictive number puzzle game


Rarely does an app move me to blog. Even more rarely is that app a game. Ladies and gentlemen, the day has come.

I suppose I should add some context here before I get started. I don't play that many games, on my phone or otherwise. I don't have the reflexes for even the timing-based destruction of later levels of Angry Birds. It is extremely infrequent that I find a game that I like and that I can play. However, there is a game that has consumed several of my idle moments this weekend. I've been playing so much I figured I better share.

Threes, a game that I suppose is best described as Tetris with numbers, is simple enough. Ones are combined with twos to become threes. After that, each number only adds with its twin and you have to line them up. (The above GIF should help you visualize things.) The next tile is shown above the 4 x 4 grid so you can plan your moves. When the grid fills and there are no more possible combinations, the game is over.

A few really smart design decisions keep this from being just another Tetris clone. Starting when your numbers add to 24, each new number you unlock gets a charming little bio card. It's subtle, but it's a nice motivational device. The tiles are made to look like living beings and make charming little beeps and boops to complement a nice musical score. That being said, you'll probably turn this off relatively quickly and listen to music on your phone.

The reason I really like this game is that it shines from an accessibility standpoint. The game is completely untimed. Tiles only drop in after you've made your previous move. I still make a move I didn't mean to occasionally, but I chalk that up to clumsy fingers. It's an excellent game for anyone that wants a stress-free, reflex free puzzler. I especially can't recommend it highly enough for those in the disabled community. This game completely levels the playing field.

If I had to give this game one criticism, it seems to drain the battery on my iPhone 4S relatively quickly. This is true even in the game's battery conserving mode. I may be overstating the problem because as I stated before, I don't play that many games. I don't really have a point of comparison. However, there are no physics or high-speed graphical flourishes that should cause the battery to drain this quickly. Maybe someone can let me know if I'm off base.

The minor quibble above notwithstanding, this is an excellent little puzzler. The universal app for both iPhone and iPad (sorry Android folks, not yet) is available in the App Store at 33 percent off, $1.99, for a limited time. My Game Center tag is ffalcon2009 and my high score is 2,481. I have little doubt that will be easy for someone to beat.