Math doesn’t always make the best basis for a game, but Nozoku Rush is trying to pull it off by building upon the principles of Sudoku. You’re only dealing with numbers 0-9, and your goal is to clear off numbers from the board by subtracting them down to zero. All of it is controlled through a smooth mechanic where you just drag your fingers over a chain of numbers to reach zero. For instance, you go from nine to five to four, and you get zero to clear those numbers off of the board. It’s a neat mechanic that keeps your mind active, while also not getting you bogged down in math, since you’re dealing with the simplicity of subtracting single digits.
Nozoku has been on the App Store for awhile, and the Rush version offers a fast paced version, similar to Bejeweled Blitz. Rather than meticulously subtracting numbers, you’re dealing with impending doom at all times that comes in two forms. There’s rush mode where the tiles continue to rise, and you try to keep them from touching the top of the screen. Then, there’s race mode where you have a limited amount of time to score as much as you can with the ability to earn bonus time with good moves. If that wasn’t enough, there’s an extreme variant for both modes, giving you four ways to play, with all focusing on action.
It’s amusing how such basic math can become so complex when you’re racing against the clock, or watching number stacks continue to rise. You can do these simple subtractions in your sleep, but it’s quite a challenge when time is of the essence. The main difficulty arises from the random assortment of letters, so there are not always clear chains of subtractions, and the game only gets tougher as you go. Making simple subtractions isn’t enough, and you will need to look for special tiles that can slow down time, clear whole lines, or add bonuses to your chain. It’s simply a quality puzzle mechanic infused with fast paced action for an engaging game style that is easy to play numerous times to better yourself, and friends. The one drawback is apparent for other action games in that you can only play so many times whether you’re poor, or good at the game because it’s still the same simple mechanic at work. Once you have played a few times, there’s not the most long term replay factor, but that comes with the territory.
Nozoku Rush ($2.99, Universal) offers fast paced number crunching for a surprising amount of fun that’s worth the price of admission.