The number three has become a popular number in gaming whether it’s match three, three strikes, or three attacks to beat a boss. Threes! is a new iOS puzzle game that revolves around the number three as you build up matches that are multiples of three. You begin by adding one plus two to make three, then match two threes to form six, combine two sixes to equal twelve, and so on. You keep combining the numbers to make huge multiples, as your score is based on the final combinations you can create. It’s a literal match three, as you’re actively matching the number rather than just three of a kind.
Threes! begins with a 4×4 grid providing room for 16 different numbered tiles to interact with. You just swipe left, right, up, or down to move the tiles, and every single tile moves together. The entire game takes the puzzle idea, and boils it down into its bare ingredients of what’s needed for extreme minimalism. The game strips away the clutter allowing you to simply swipe in different directions to move the tiles in an attempt to make numbered combinations. There are a few intricacies as well as you’re shown the next tile, and it appears on the board on the side that swiped from on your last move. The game couldn’t be simpler to pick up and start playing, and yet there are so many intricate strategic elements as you go.
At first glance, Threes! looks like a replica of the great Triple Town, just with numbers instead of the trees, houses, and bears. Then, you start to play Threes!, and you see that it’s a brand new puzzle experience as you’re dealing with adding up combinations, rather than simple matching three of the same type of units. There are a lot of subtle differences with Threes! while still offering the basics of Triple Town as every number moves with a single swipe, new pieces come in based on where you swipe, there’s more simplicity in the set-up and combinations. The main takeaway from Threes! is the simplicity beginning with the intuitive swipe gestures to slide through every aspect of the game. The controls are silky smooth to the point that it feels like you’re actually sliding the tiles, and you can test out a move before actually engaging it by pushing the tiles in the different directions.
One interesting facet of Threes! is that its allure comes upon you slowly, and as the description states, it will grow on you. Since it’s so simple to begin with, it doesn’t seem like it’s all that challenging, but soon you will uncover the intricacies, and start to experiment with different strategies. All of the clutter is removed allowing you to purely focus on the puzzle, and try to take advantage of each move. Soon, you will hesitate before most moves thinking about how making one combination could leave you in a bad spot based on how the board shifts. There are a number of potential combination available most of the time, so there are so many ways a game can play out depending on which direction you slide on each move.
The one consistency throughout the game is that as soon as you lose, you instantly want to replay to better your score. Since there are so many possible ways a board can unfold, you’re always thinking that you can do better next time by changing up when you make certain matches. Threes! is absolutely perfect for on the go gaming with the effortless controls, great replay factor, engrossing puzzle style, relatively quick play sessions, and over the top polish. The soundtrack is top notch, and each multiple of three has their own caricature to infuse personality into the puzzle experience. The developers have done an extraordinary job in just focusing on the intricate puzzle mechanic allowing you to play at anytime, anywhere, and for a lot longer than you initially anticipated.
Threes! ($1.99, Universal) has all the makings to be the next App Store phenomena as it’s an expertly crafted app that delivers a completely engrossing puzzle mechanic making it a must buy.