Conqueror of crosswords, successive Sudoku completionist, and Scrabble word conjurer, I’ve largely been able to defeat any type of puzzle thrown in my direction over the years. That is until I crossed paths with 2048.
This puzzle sensation is the brainchild of 19-year old Italian web developer Gabriele Cirulli, created over a single weekend as a programming test and unleashed upon the world in March earlier this year. It caught on like wildfire, with the free-to-play game attracting millions of players within the space of a week. An iOS and Android version followed in May and now, as of last week, Nintendo 3DS players can spend £1.39 (€1.49) on the Nintendo eShop to see exactly what all the fuss is about.
As with most addictive puzzlers, the concept behind 2048 is a simple one. Players must slide numbered tiles across a grid, with those displaying the same digit capable of being combined once they collide with one another. With smaller numbered tiles spawning after every move, players must methodically deduce each decision that they make before the grid becomes too cluttered to continue.
It can feel fairly painstaking, with one wrong move easily leading to an early downfall. Thankfully players can choose whether to aim to achieve a score of 1024, 2048 or 4096, easing you into the experience by pitting you against lower targets. That’s not to say that even 1024 won’t challenge you, but at least lets you get to grips with what the tricky puzzler expects of you.
The minimalist presentation largely serves its purpose, with players using either button or stylus input to sling the tiles across the grid. The 3D Screen offers an isometric overview of the grid which sees tiles visibly growing in height as their number increases, while the touchscreen lends a top-down view. The accompanying music audibly tries to match the arduous task before you, although is the weakest aspect of this otherwise low budget release.
2048 may not be as revelatory as when Sudoku appeared on the scene, but there’s no denying its current popularity. This 3DS iteration looks to capture a new audience, and I certainly can’t fault its addictive nature.