Oh, poor Mobile Gaming Pop Culture. After losing Flappy Bird to the great Bird Nest in the Sky (though it’s destined to be resurrected), it needed a new craze to bide its time during the long workday. Enter Threes! and 2048, bringing number matching / stacking to the forefront of the Internet’s consciousness. 2048: Xbox 360 Edition ($1.00) is the classic bandwagon game, looking to pry loose a quick buck and strike while the iron… er, numbers table, is hot.
For the uninitiated, all of these games follow a simple, but strict code of operation; slide and match similar numbers in a grid to pair them together, constructing them into ever-increasing values until the board eventually fills up and you have no more moves to make. Your ‘goal’ is to get the highest score. Threes! centers around adding values of… well, you know, while 2048 (and this Xbox version) asks you to work around the number 2, joining tiles in an attempt to reach the elusive… you guessed it, 2048.
You can move the tile set in any direction but diagonal, so long as an open space or possible pairing exists. And while your initial moves can be made without much thought, sliding together matches late in the game can be harmful if you paint yourself into a corner. Higher values are harder to match, introducing a fair amount of thought and strategy to your moves. Call it Tetris inbreeding mixed with a Rubik’s Cube, call it a time-waster and / or a passing fad, but it’s incredibly-addicting, if you’re not careful to watch the time.
See, letters. That’s totally different, right?
This game continues where Gabriele Cirulli’s original left off, and adds a slight ‘twist’ in the form of pairing letters. This merely dresses up the gameplay, of course, giving you something different to look at without breaking any new ground. Personally, if we’re brainstorming clones here, I’d like to see a Jim Carrey version based on stacking The Number 23. But we can’t always get what we want, can we?
Bottom line, 2048: Xbox 360 Edition offers nothing new to fan the flames of the originals it so blatantly follows. Even with a spot-on impersonation, global leaderboards, and the letter-based secondary mode, there’s little reason to invest in this game, or any of the other recent and future bandwagon titles for that matter, so long as an official, free version exists somewhere.
Oh, and if anyone’s looking for a challenge to beat, I posted my best of 5432 on the leaderboard. Not much to some, maybe, but I considered it a pretty impressive run. Be gentle on my ego.