You get the feeling with twofold inc. its creators explored all of the vacuous puzzle games littering app stores and sought to make the exact opposite. Because although twofold inc. has the visual appearance of a sweet-natured, simple match game, it’s a snarling beast beneath the surface — one armed with rules determined to tie your brain in knots.
The game takes place on a grid of coloured squares. A goofy robot gives you ‘requests’ that you clear by dragging lines across tiles of matching colour. Requests can comprise up to four separate demands, and individual colour requirements must be matched or beaten to clear them.
If you drag out a suitably long chain, it will potentially eat into more than one request. The most urgent always sits nearest the robot.
Not so simple
Only it isn’t as simple as that. As you drag across tiles, the selection count increases exponentially. Drag across two tiles and you get a count of four to fire at a request. Three tiles gives eight. Four gives sixteen. 20 gives 1,048,576. And so on.
This makes fulfilling larger requests like 64 a little less daunting, until you realise you must always drag through the entirety of any linked block of colours, and that the board can very easily become an unwieldily mess of unlinked tiles.
Only it isn’t as simple as that either. Requests must be completed within a limited number of moves, or one of your four lives is lost. Rows and columns can be nudged, potentially forming bigger chains (or breaking up areas with no viable moves), but each nudge robs you of a move.
Spare tiles sit at the foot of the screen and can be dragged to the main game board during an emergency (and are refilled by making chains with values higher than your requests demand). And the scoring system is so opaque that it made our head hurt just thinking about it. As, frankly, did much of the rest of the game for a good long while.
Make your brain sweat
Yet despite being more confusing than the later pages in a Stephen Hawking book, twofold inc. is oddly compelling. At first, it’s just fun dragging out lines, completing requests, and listening to the groovy soundtrack.
At some point, things start to click regarding tactics for longer-term play — how to manage tiles and make use of shunting rows and columns; intentionally losing a life to halve a request’s demands, which can then be completed, getting you the lost life back at the end of the round.
Which still all sounds monumentally confusing, we’re sure. But twofold inc. is one of those games like Threes! that’s tricky to describe, simple to start with, tough to master, and likely to invade your dreams.
That’s not to say twofold inc. is the next Threes! — the game is too convoluted and a bit too reliant on luck for that. But it is bright, breezy, novel, interesting, demanding and unique, in a manner that’ll keep brows furrowed and brains whirring into the wee small hours.