Tag Archives: It’s the fucking numbers that’ll get you man

REVIEW: 2048: Xbox 360 Edition

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.

2048 - Xbox 360 Edition - Screen

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.

2048 - Xbox 360 Edition - Screen2

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.

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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.

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REVIEW: Pi

I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, as you’ve likely been celebrating through the night, but what the hell… Happy Pi Approximation Day! If you’re not in a drunk tank somewhere, a toast then, to numbers without end. And how better to mark the occasion than to watch Aronofsky’s artistic take on numbers and paranoia, and review the recent XBLIG, Pi (80 MSP). This is more personal anecdote than review, I’m afraid, as the game is shit for anyone other than diehard mathematicians or boring introverts like me.

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. That measurement is impossible to approximate, giving you the endless but non-repeating string of decimals we all don’t know and don’t love. Yes, most of us know the first few numbers, 3.14 (marks Pi Day, yet another drinking date on your calendar, no doubt). I was extreme at some point in my life, as I’ve forever etched 3.14159 into my mind, for no important mission in particular. I used to know more. It’s not 10 trillion, sure, but it’s a start.

The only reason it’s relevant to me at all is the extra credit (and candy that’s contributed to my current shape) I earned in fourth grade. My teacher was a bit of a Pi fanatic. In what I now realize was an attempt to indoctrinate us and introduce us to cults, she used to hold Pi races, where two students would first memorize a sheet of Pi decimals, then face off at the chalkboard to see who was, theoretically, smarter. My win / loss record was impressive. Clearly I wanted that candy. And yes, I went to school when there were still chalkboards. It was messy; you whiteboard kids don’t know how good you’ve got it.

Exhilarating, isn’t it?

So, what does Pi the XBLIG have in store for you? A rather paltry lineup, consisting of the first 1,000 digits, a mode to type out as many numbers as you can remember, and a ‘repeat after me’ function. That’s the extent of what Pi offers. I’d say it’s hardly for the hardcore. 1,000 for a buck? Pfft. How ’bout a cool million, for free? Wait, you want to make a game out of it? We can do that too. Come at me, bro.

Just in case it wasn’t readily apparent otherwise, you shouldn’t waste your time or MSP on Pi. It’s a numbingly-basic memory game at best, with instant regret on tap, even on its big days of 7/22 and 3/14. Then again, it could be I’m a simpleton, and the answer to everything in the universe is right in front of me… hey, look! Pi in dominoes!