But it really doesn’t look like much. It’s just a match game, right, where you slide tiles about?Yes, but that’s how it gets you. You’re all: “Well, how dangerous can this be? It’s JUST a simple puzzle game. I can put it down ANY TIME I CHOOSE. I don’t HAVE to stay up until four in the morning, getting the best score among my similarly addicted chums.”
So what sets Threes! apart from all the other puzzlers out there?The underlying mechanics are ingeniously simple, but give you almost endless scope for improving your strategy and gradually boosting your scores. At its core, it’s a basic match game: you merge a 1 and 2 to make a 3, and then pairs of cards are merged to double their face value. As you swipe, though, every card on the tiny four-by-four grid slides in that direction; and on every move, a new card enters the grid in a random empty space on the edge you swiped away from. It’s game over when you get stuck, and so you must think many moves ahead. It’s a bit like chess, but with oddly cute cards spouting catchphrases.
Cards with… catchphrases? Are you drunk again?There’s no time for that these days! Haven’t you been listening? But the cuteness and catchphrase things are yet more great aspects of Threes!, in that there’s personality infused throughout what could have otherwise been a dry (if still absurdly addictive) game. The little cards are each formally introduced the first time they appear, and when a pair arrives on-screen, they chirp at each other, in anticipation of being merged. Oh, and then there’s the clever scoring system, where each tile’s worth three times its predecessor’s value. So a 3 is worth 3, but a 6 is worth 9, and a 12 is worth 27. Get a 768, and that’s worth 19,683 points! It really urges you on to figure out how to reach those big cards — with just ‘one more go’ after having already had several ‘one more goes’.
…Are you there?
Busy. Playing Threes! Go awayAh, OK. Well, there’s an infographic with more about Threes! below, if you want to know some interesting facts and find out how you’re doing compared to everyone else…
CODA: The world economy nosedives as everyone becomes glued to Threes! Stuff apologises for the inconvenience and upcoming dystopia, where oil or water won’t be currency, but instead still-powered-up devices with working copies of Threes! installed. To help bring about the end of civilisation, grab your own copy: it’s $1.99/£1.49 for iOS and $1.99/£1.20 on Google Play, for Android.