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Numbers Addict (iOS)

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1 Review

Developer: Baring's Prod

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      22.07.2013 10:10
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      A fun maths-based puzzle game spoiled by a massive spike in difficulty level

      Ooh. I love reviewing games like this because you can afford to be lazy. Numbers Addict 2 is Tetris with maths. There you go. Review done. Off you go now, and thanks for stopping by and earning me a massive 1p from your read.

      What?! You want more information? Tsk. Some people are never satisfied.

      OK then. Numbers Addict 2 is like Tetris with maths. But then I already told you that. Your job is to drop balls with numbers on them into a grid and must group similar numbered balls together to explode them and get rid of them. The difference is that balls will only explode when a certain number of them are grouped. So, for example, to explode a 3 ball, you need to create a group of three 3s; to explode a 5 ball, you need to form a group of five 5s. You can also add balls together (up to a certain limit) so, for example, you can combine a number 2 ball with a number 3 ball to create a number 5. If any row of balls reaches the top of the grid, you fail the level.

      Sounds easy, doesn't it? But, like Tetris and all other puzzle games, it's trickier than it sounds; not least because occasionally, the whole screen shifts upwards, with a new set of balls appearing on the bottom row. Not only does this have the effect of moving you closer to the top of the screen, it also can destroy patterns you have even carefully building.

      Like Tetris, Numbers Addict 2 offers surprisingly strategic gameplay. You can see the next three balls that are going to appear and need to plan carefully where to put them. You also need to take instant decisions. If the ball you need is not coming soon, do you pile other balls on other columns (taking you closer to the top of the screen) and hope the balls you need arrives in time or give up on that ball and start building another pattern? Or do you add that 3 and that 2 together to make a 5, but then accept it will be longer before you can clear them because you will have to line it up with four more 5s? These are all decisions you will need to make quickly, on the spur of the moment and, like Tetris, a good move can get you out of major trouble; a bad decision can destroy your game in an instant.

      The pace of Numbers Addict 2 gets faster and faster as you proceed. On earlier levels, you have quite a bit of time before the screen shifts up. On later levels, things get much more frantic and you often have just a few seconds to make your move. They are ridiculously fast and the screen seems to rise at a stupid pace that gives you very little chance. Unless you have lightning fast reactions, you will often be reduced to dumping the balls anywhere in the hope that it will somehow all work out. It is deeply, deeply frustrating (and I speak from experience here!) to get stuck on a particular level and have to keep playing over and over again. Indeed, I am totally stuck on the level I am on. I have played it dozens of times and come nowhere near to beating it. It's noticeable that because of this, I haven't played the game for a long, long time now. It's fun but after a certain point that fun boils over into frustrating. Sadly, this sudden difficulty spike is such an issue that it loses the game two whole stars.

      As you can probably imagine, the game is not much to look at; but that's typical of puzzle games which rely on appealing and addictive gameplay rather than flashy presentation. Graphics are merely adequate. The balls look nice and big so that their number value is immediately obvious and they are colour coded to help with identification. It's basic, but it works.

      The same is true for the sound. Other than a quiet explosion when you create a chain, there's not much sound in the entire game but this is a good thing. The appeal of Numbers Addict 2 lies in its simplicity and the minimalist sound effects suit the game well.

      It's annoying that there's no high score table, unless you are prepared to give the app access to your Facebook account (I'm not). The lack of an internal high score table (so you can't try and beat your own best score) or integration with Game Center is a slightly silly omission.

      It's a shame that Numbers Addict's uneven difficulty is so frustrating. Don't let this Maths element put you off because Numbers Addict 2 is an excellent little puzzle game and as long as you can do basic mental arithmetic (2+3 is 5), you'll be fine. It's also a fun and useful way to teach kids some basic Maths too, so has a vague educational angle to it.

      You can download the app for free and get access to the full game. Alternatively, if you are the impatient sort, you can pay 69p to unlock all the levels without having to beat the preceding ones.

      (c) copyright SWSt 2013

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