In March of 2014, a 19-year-old Italian programmer created a monster. 2048, created by Gabriele Cirulli, is now available online in many places (Google it), for both Android and for iOS, and has started to take the internet and casual gaming market by storm!

The game consists of a 16-square grid (in the basic version, but more on that later) and starts with a couple of numbers in a couple of squares on that grid. The numbers begin at two, and as the player moves them around by either using the arrow keys (web version) or swiping the screen (Android, iOS) they can bring two identical numbers next to each other and combine them, then mash them together in one tile to double the number. Two 2’s make a 4, two 4’s make an 8 and so on, and another 2 will show up in a now empty square.

Lather, rinse, repeat. If enough tiles are combined and doubled, the number 2048 is achieved and you win! Simple concept? Yup! Easy game? No way! Challenging and addictive? Absolutely. The creator himself has said, on Twitter, that he has only finished the game THREE TIMES!

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2048 web version at http://gabrielecirulli.github.io/2048/

The game has a very simple graphic style as all it needs to show is a bunch of boxes with numbers in them, very much in the vein of a Sudoku video game.

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2048 on Android. So close to victory!

As for control, all that involves is a simple directional pad – Up, Down, Left, Right. As was stated previously, this is done with either an arrow key or a directional swipe. The drawback and additional challenge of this is that each time you hit a direction, EVERYTHING moves that direction and goes ALL THE WAY ACROSS THE BOARD, or at least until it hits another number and combines with it. Need to just move that 4 over one block to get above that other 4? Nope. That square is gonna go all the way to the other side, passing that 4 which is also gonna move and get stuck just one square short of where you needed it to be. Try again. Oh wait. Now there is another 2 popping up right in the way on the other side. Well, time to rethink your strategy. Aggravating? Yes, but still challenging and addictive!

This game has only been out for a short period of time and has kind of slipped under some people’s radar, but, like many other titles such as the (absolutely terrible) Flappy Bird, it has spawned many clones and knockoffs already. Searching for it in the Google Play Store reveals 250 results ranging from exact clones to enhanced versions with 25 squares to versions based on Doctor Who or Doge. There is even a version using letters to make words instead of scores and an RPG using the mechanics to make weapons and fight dragons!

So a number puzzle game in the vein of Sudoku and match 3 puzzles is what you have here, and for what it is, and how it works, regardless of flaws (aggravating movement and an occasional “4” popping up instead of a 2, which can ruin your day) I would say go ahead and play this.

Final grade: B