Features// Games of the Year: Threes

Posted 29 Dec 2014 12:30 by
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It's now nearly a year since the end of last year, which means that for many whose phone operating systems use the Gregorian calendar, it's a time for reflection. Or, you know, to talk about our favourite games of 2014. Here's Paul...


If you knew me you'd find me choosing as mobile game as my game of the year a little odd. I don't like mobile games. Many are either console games squeezed onto a tiny device or freemium games that feel more like a chore than a game. I know not all freemium games are bad but 99% of them are, so at those odds I tend to give them a wide berth.

But Threes! is different. It's paid-for to start with, which even at 1.49 makes it expensive for an App Store purchase. It also manages to achieve the perfect mobile dichotomy of being incredibly simple and challenging at the same time, with the complexity increasing as you get deeper into your game.

I try to explain Threes! to friends and family and they look confused, put off by the numbered tiles. It's possibly that this confuses them into thinking it's a game of maths (maybe if the numbers were exchanged for candy or cakes, like other puzzle games, it would be even more popular). But when you start playing you realise it's a simple game that's about patterns, not sums.

Threes! looks great too. It's no wonder it picked up an Apple Design Award earlier this year. Some might consider it too cool for school, with it's cheery music, tiles that wink at you and flat design it's so current I'm expecting a Threes! bar to open up in Shoredtich any time now.

Ultimately I love Threes! because it manages to do two things: it proves that the best mobile games are those designed for mobile devices, not hulking console games ruined by touchscreen controls. Secondly, it shows that simple mobile games don't have to be shit. Candy Crush and Kim Kardashian might have stole the mobile gaming headlines in 2014 but Threes! was the best mobile game of the year.

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