The Threes! iPhone and iPad app is an addictive puzzler with a cool twist. You connect squares within a matrix that add up to three and sums of three. The gestures are simple and intuitive, and the navigation is inspired by iOS news feeds. The $1.99 download from the iTunes App Store is fresh and fun.
The Threes iPhone app opens with an interactive tutorial. The puzzle board is a simple matrix with 16 slots. At the start of the game, there are a mix of empty slots, 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s. You want to add the 1’s and 2’s together to make 3’s. At the same time, you want to connect 3’s to add up to 6. Next, a swipe connecting two 6’s makes a 12, two 12’s make a 24, and so on. Like numbers above 3 always connect to make a larger number. But, with each swipe to connect, a new number is added to the board. You can swipe vertically and horizontally in either direction, but not in a diagonal.
The premise seems fairly simple and straight-forward; however, there is just enough nuance to make it challenging and enticing. In the middle of the screen at the very top, the next number to be added to the screen is displayed. You do not know exactly where it will enter the screen, but you will know which side of the puzzle board it will land. The only numbers to enter the game board are 1’s, 2’s, and 3’s.
In the tutorial, the hint at the bottom of the screen is the following: “Pay attention to next number.” That is a key item to note, as you try to simultaneously connect 1’s and 2’s and multiples of 3. It is easy to get swept into focusing solely on what is on the board, but you will find success thinking about the entire board, the next number to enter, and which direction you need to mix the existing with the next. As you dig into the Threes iPhone app, it is easy to realize if you swiped in the opposite direction that three connections would have been made instead of one. Once the board is filled, the game is over and points are added. Bonus points for larger numbers are given.
The interface between games, settings, achievements, and credits is unexpected, yet effective. You slide between screens with horizontal swipes like the feeds of the newest Twitter iOS app and Facebook’s Paper iOS app. You will want to head straight to settings to disable the sound effects. The sound effects are a kooky mash-up of Teletubbies and whining teenagers.
The Threes iPhone and iPad app is cool, fun, and challenging – the perfect blend for puzzlers.
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