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​What It Feels Like When You Play: Threes

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Threes has become a problem for me. Last night, I was seriously torn between making sure my three-year-old ate her dinner and getting a few more rounds of the new iOS puzzle game in before bedtime. I fed her and then I went back to obsessively doing math. 'Til 2 a.m. Here's how I feel when I play Threes.


When you start Threes, it seems deceptively simple. The main feature is just math, after all. Sure, there's a grid that restricts movement and the random mix of numbers you're handed but you don't need super-fast reflexes or mastery of complicated inputs to play it. All you need to do is think. Threes reminds me of being in math bees in elementary school. Playing the game doesn't put you up on a stage but it jolts me with the same charge of feeling my brain work as fast as possible.


In a Trance

When you get the hang of it and the rules and quirks coalesce in my head, Threes is hypnotic. Part of it is because the answers are all right there in front of you. Just move that 6 down and that 12 over and you get two more spaces. And then make 48s… and 96s… and 192s…



When it's Game Over, you ultimately feel like it's a failure of your perceptiveness rather than your puzzle-solving skills. Pull your focus in too tight on one corner and you don't notice how you're locking off the 2s or the 1s away from each other. Then, you're down to one square of space and a little clueless as to how you got there. Sign your name. Retry. Math your life away.

Are you playing Threes? How does its dark magic make you feel inside? Good? Bad? Forever changed? Post a comment below to let your fellow players know. It's important to follow the template closely, as it'll make it easy for us to pull your comment out and possibly run it on the front page of Kotaku.

When I Play [Game Name], I Feel

When you get the hang of it

When you start

When it's Game Over