I play Candy Crush every day. Or at least, I used to.
Now, when I need to entertain myself I turn to a new game called Threes. I've become obsessed with matching numbers. I no longer care about chocolates covered in sprinkles.
Threes is one of the top paid apps in the App Store right now. Often the most popular games involve words or puzzles. At its core, Threes is a math game. Additionally, the game costs $1.99. Many hit games are free or use a "freemium" model, where users can download the game for free then pay for virtual goods.
At first, the $2 price tag and fear of numbers deterred me. But after hearing about Threes from a lot of friends, I decided to give it a try. "It's really not THAT bad," I was told by Valleywag's Sam Biddle. "And I hate math." Now I feel Threes is worth every penny. It even works on the subway when you're offline, just like Candy Crush.
The game was made by two designers in Los Angeles who worked on a previous game together, PuzzleJuice. Asher Vollmer and Greg Wohlwend told The Verge it took them a year to simplify the game's concept and one night to build a prototype. Right now, Threes is only available on the iPhone.
The game isn't difficult once you start playing it and if you aren't a numbers person (I'm not), there's still a strong chance you'll love Threes.
In Threes, you're playing against yourself. The goal is to get the highest score possible and to do that, you keep adding double numbers together until your entire board is full. Like the name suggests, the game is based around the number three and as you match numbers together, you subsequently learn basic arithmetic.
It's hard to know how much revenue Threes is generating because the founders won't reveal download numbers. However, one study by Distimo estimated that apps needed 4,000 downloads per day to be one of Apple's top ten paid apps. If we assume Threes has been getting at least 4,000 downloads since it first appeared at the top of the App Store on February 6, then the game has generated roughly $200,000 in 27 days ($1.99 x 4,000 downloads x 27 days).
Here's how it works:
The board is initially empty, except for a few tiles numbered "1" and "2." These two numbers can be mushed together to create one number, "3".
When you move a card, a new card will appear on the board. Your job is to keep adding as many like numbers (and 1s and 2s) together as you can to free up space on the board.
When you match a 3 and 3 together, you'll get a 6. When you match a 6 and 6 together, you'll get a 12. When you match 12 and 12 together, you get 24. And so on.
Here are all the matches I've made to date.
When the board is full, your game is over. All of your points are then tallied up. My high score is 10,098.
I can't properly explain why I'm so addicted. But I'm not alone. As MacRumors' Serenity Caldwell writes, "Perhaps the only disappointing thing about Threes is you’ll eventually have to put it down."