It’s usually a good sign when a game makes you curse under your breath every time you lose. Addicus, an arcade puzzle from Get Set Games, looks like Super Mario Brothers (toadstools, green grass, blue skies) but tests your first-grade addition skills instead of your princess-saving prowess.
Though it will take you a few minutes to get a handle on the gameplay, the premise is simple: the screen fills up with colored mushrooms numbered one through nine, and you have to select the right combination to add up to the “goal number” before the timer runs out. While this seems easy enough for anyone with math skills, there’s a catch: the goal number is also colored, so you can only use yellow mushrooms with yellow numbers, and so on. It sounds easy, but tapping the correctly colored mushrooms gets pretty hairy once the goal number tops 30.
The pulsating electro soundtrack only adds to the mental frenzy. As this challenging game progresses, you’ll unlock more difficult levels with larger numbers. Though the gameplay isn’t varied much and there isn’t a multiplayer option, dedicated players can earn bonus points for extra fast tapping or selecting patterned numbers like pairs and palindromes.
Overall, Addicus is simple to play, cool to look at, and yet challenging enough to keep you coming back again and again. Not many games manage to look and feel so childlike while still engaging adults who haven’t done addition drills in years. Addicus is a perfect way to pass time on a bus or in a waiting room, if you can keep your swearing under control.
[Meghann Myers is an editorial intern for Macworld.]