Jul 30, 2013
Simplicity is often the disguise that really tough games hide behind. They lure you in with promises of ‘simplicity’ and ‘easy to grasp concepts’ and the sucker-punch you with tricky puzzles and a series of challenges that are tougher than reciting the 7 times table in front of the whole class. I had real trouble with my 7 times table – if that helps make that analogy any easier to digest.
Hundreds is difficult. It’s simple, but it’s difficult. The basic idea is to hold down on a circle and it’ll get bigger. As it gets bigger, the value of the circle increases. When you’ve got one circle worth 100 or several circles that combine to make 100, you win.
That’s how the developers get you. How easy does that sound? Hold down on a circle? Barely a game!
Wrong. Hundred doesn’t allow you to just press down on a circle without worrying about it. As you press on the circle, it turns red and at this point it can’t touch anything else on the screen. If it does, it’s game over for you.
It helps keep things interesting and there’s some interesting level design going on that helps make most levels play differently to each other. The only issue is that some of the challenges feel like they have more luck than skill to them. Often, you’ll ‘solve’ a level and feel a good sense of satisfaction. Like you solved a tricky maths puzzle.
Sometimes, however, you’ll just brute force your way through. Jabbing at circles until you stumble across a method that works. Imagine guessing the right answer when given a multiple-choice question. Exciting? Maybe. Rewarding? No. Those levels are pretty rare, but do stick out in my mind.
The rest of the game is functional, with a touch of style to it all. Simple shapes and simple sounds accompany the game’s simple premise. I believe the cool kids would call it ‘minimalist’, but I’d call it ‘OK’.
In the end, Hundreds is a great puzzle game that suffers from some levels that a more a test of luck than a test of skill. For the most part, it’s a real joy and shows what can be done with such a misleadingly simple idea.