• App review - Threes!

    You may have heard of a little game called Threes! - it's a charming iOS game only recently released - and is also slightly addictive. Basically, you are presented with a 4x4 grid that is populated with 'tiles' that increase in multiples of 3's (hence the name) as you swipe pairs together. The tiles are either blue '1's', or red '2's' - which must be joined to make a white '3'. From here, the tiles will continue to commingle with a 'twin' and produce even more white tiles - which also increase in multiples (e.g. '3' and '3' makes a '6' tile).

    The in-game tutorial also helps to visualise the whimsical (and quite adorable) personality of the game. The colour scheme is very simple and light; red, blue and white - not to mention, the app icon immediately brings to mind the French flag (Bonjour, any French readers).

    The whimsy persona of Threes isn't 'over the top' as one may expect from, say, a children's game; rather, it makes for a purely welcoming and pleasant experience.

    In a way, it almost makes you feel as though you're being productive due to the (hidden) mathematical mechanics of the game. A winner all-round, in my opinion.

    I would even say that if you have children, they would enjoy the game just as much. Large tap-targets, big bold typography, and written in simple English (plus, it's quite educational).

    It truly is delightful, as each tile has it's own name and personality.

    You can also see this by their little faces and expressions beneath each number.

    The characters - which personify the numerical tiles - also make little noises as you shift them around the grid (for example: a smaller number may squeak 'Hello', and a larger one may grumble ‘Grrr').

    And if you have children, this is another reason they may enjoy the game. Of course, I wouldn't recommend for anyone to spend long periods of time on any app - even if it's this charming.

    These are just a handful of visual features that set Threes apart as a unique game. It also runs extremely fluidly, both on an iPhone 4S and a Retina iPad mini - though there is a 'Conserve Battery' mode which, as the name suggests, saves your precious battery for the sake of less fluid game physics.

    The developers really have thought out this app, and judging by this post from the developers Asher & Greg, it appears as though a lot of time, testing and pure joy went into this game. It's just sad to think that it has been shamelessly cloned (though to an incomparable degree).

    Pleasant, well-designed games have become somewhat coveted in the App Store nowadays: the Top Charts are mostly occupied by 'freemium' games; evoking the user's desire for a continuous and more satisfying gaming experience through consumable In-App Purchases. Threes deviates from this trend, and is seemingly proud to do so. No IAP, no timers, no invasive social integrations. Just you, the tiles, and the engrossing experience of obtaining the highest score (and the possibility of losing the rest of your otherwise productive afternoon). Not to mention, discovering new characters as you create even larger multiples.

    You can find Threes! as a universal app (for devices running iOS 6 or later) on the App Store at $2.49 - this buys a heart-warming gaming experience that is sure to put a smile on your face with each play.

    The author: Lawrence is a student, Apple aficionado, and admirer of surprising and unique apps. He is a new contributor to MacTalk, where you can also find him hovering in the forums - as lawrencium - from time to time. He has an affection for owls, though he isn't sure why.
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