TwoDots review: Dangerously addictive puzzle game for iPhone & iPad
After creating one of the most successful puzzle games of last year, the makers of Dots have returned with their latest offering, TwoDots. Produced by Betaworks One, TwoDots hopes to build upon its predecessor’s success, which, at the height of its popularity, managed to amass over 20 million downloads.
The concept of TwoDots is relatively simple, maintaining the same minimalistic design of the original, with colored dots and simple animations making up the majority of the app. The aim of the game is to produce as many vertical and horizontal lines from the same colored dots as possible. Producing squares is the best way to advance through the levels, hence the game’s motto, “When in doubt, just make squares.”
TwoDots is built around the idea of an adventure. Unlike the original game, the new version features two “dot” characters, Amelia and Jacques. These two take you through the game, traveling with you through the different worlds as you advance through each level. The characters add a fun concept to the game and may draw in younger users but seem somewhat unnecessary, detracting from the overall simplicity that the actual game seems to want to achieve.
Users of the original Dots game will be aware that there are two challenges: collect as many points as possible against the clock, or beat your high score in 30 moves. TwoDots builds upon the latter, with users restricted to a certain number of moves per level. The aim of TwoDots is not to beat your own high score but to beat each level.
Advancing through levels with a restricted number of lives is reminiscent of games such as Candy Crush and in many ways TwoDots could be thought of as a more stripped down version of these games, appealing to a similar fan base. Each level presents an increasingly higher level of difficulty, with different-shaped grids and challenges, designed to stump even the most avid puzzler.
Each player is assigned five lives, which if lost are replaced every 20 minutes or can be bought for more impatient players. Lives are lost if the player fails to compete the level in the assigned number of moves or restarts the level from the beginning. The lives are a source of contention, as some of the grids are so difficult that the restricted amount of moves mean that the player can drain their lives quite quickly.
To add extra moves or lives, the player has to make extra in-app purchases, which could prove expensive for the most addicted of players. Perhaps more infuriating is the fact that the more difficult levels depend quite heavily on luck rather than on actual puzzling skill by the player, with how the dots initially fall heavily influencing the outcome of each level.
With more than 100 levels to conquer, TwoDots offers a player an engaging and addictive gameplay that will appeal to fans of the “30 move” mode of the original. The reminders for extra in-app purchases can get frustrating, especially as they appear at the most tempting of moments, but the gradual regeneration of lives means that patient fans can enjoy the free app without parting with any extra cash.
Although connecting dots may not be the most thrilling of concepts, the introduction of levels with increasing difficulty throughout adds a level of addictiveness that the original ‘Dots’ just can’t match. The simple design of the game still remains, with all the attention on the puzzle in hand. Offering a relatively challenging app, TwoDots is engaging enough to provide even the most skilled puzzlers a lengthy gameplay.