Game

They say bad things come in threes, but Threes! bucks that trend

Spoiler alert: Threes! might just be the best puzzle game we’ve ever played on iOS. It’s certainly right up there with the likes of Drop7, Trainyard, and Stickets, and boasts an elegant, simple concept that provides the scope for endless play and refinement while your brain wheezes under the constant strain.

Threes! takes place on a four-by-four grid, on to which blue, red and white tiles are placed. Blue tiles have the value of 1, reds are 2s, and white tiles are 3 and up. By dragging the screen, tiles attempt to move in that direction, and if a suitable pair hits a grid edge, or is obstructed by a non-pair tile, merging occurs. A 1 and a 2 combine to make a 3, and white tiles with identical numbers are added together. After each turn, a new tile is added to a random empty slot on the grid’s edge, until no more spaces and no more possible moves remain.

Aim at the end of the game to have at least one very large tile for big points!

Aim at the end of the game to have at least one very large tile for big points!

Strategy hinges on planning many moves ahead and carefully managing tile positions. You can also ‘coax’ incoming tiles to land in more or less the right place by moving the grid so certain edges are blocked. This might all sound complicated, but a minute with Threes! is enough to understand how it works; however, it takes far longer to refine methods for lasting any length of time, thereby unlocking higher-numbered tiles.

Such tiles impact very heavily on high scores. At the end of a game, any 1s or 2s are worthless, and 3s score just three points. Subsequent tiles are worth three times the score of the next lowest. So a 6 (from two 3s) is worth 9 (3 x 3); a 12 (from two 6s) is worth 27 (3 x 9); a 24 (from two 12s) is worth 81 (3 x 27); and so on… By the time you get to 384, a single tile is worth a whopping 6,561 points.

We love Threes! at TapSmart

We love Threes! at TapSmart

As a final dollop of cream on a very tasty cake, Threes! is infused with personality. It’s by the same team that created the oddball Tetris/SpellTower mash-up Puzzlejuice, and although Threes! isn’t quite as off-the-wall, it abandons the sterile, dry approach taken by many puzzle games. Instead, each tile is imagined as a quirky character whose info card is revealed during their first appearance. As you play, tiles goad you into making a move if you’re taking too long, or squeal with delight when noticing they’re next to an identical twin. Coupled with the bright, clean interface and smartly designed controls, this makes for a puzzle game you absolutely shouldn’t miss.

Price: $1.99/£1.49

Version: 1.0.3

Size: 36.0 MB

Platform: iOS Universal

Developer: Sirvo LLC

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Review: Threes!
A truly superb puzzle game that’s perfect for challenging yourself or taking on friends via Game Center.
For
  • Pleasantly addictive
  • Idiosyncratic
Against
  • May overtake your life for at least a week
5.0Overall Score