What It Feels Like When You Play: Threes

What It Feels Like When You Play: Threes

Threes has become a problem for me. Last night, I was seriously torn between making sure my three-year-old ate her dinner and getting a few more rounds of the new iOS puzzle game in before bedtime. I fed her and then I went back to obsessively doing maths. ‘Til 2am. Here’s how I feel when I play Threes.


When you start Threes, it seems deceptively simple. The main feature is just maths, after all. Sure, there’s a grid that restricts movement and the random mix of numbers you’re handed but you don’t need super-fast reflexes or mastery of complicated inputs to play it. All you need to do is think. Threes reminds me of being in maths bees in elementary school. Playing the game doesn’t put you up on a stage but it jolts me with the same charge of feeling my brain work as fast as possible.

In a Trance

When you get the hang of it and the rules and quirks coalesce in my head, Threes is hypnotic. Part of it is because the answers are all right there in front of you. Just move that 6 down and that 12 over and you get two more spaces. And then make 48s… and 96s… and 192s…


When it’s Game Over, you ultimately feel like it’s a failure of your perceptiveness rather than your puzzle-solving skills. Pull your focus in too tight on one corner and you don’t notice how you’re locking off the 2s or the 1s away from each other. Then, you’re down to one square of space and a little clueless as to how you got there. Sign your name. Retry. Maths your life away.

Are you playing Threes? How does its dark magic make you feel inside? Good? Bad? Forever changed? Post a comment below to let your fellow players know. It’s important to follow the template closely, as it’ll make it easy for us to pull your comment out and possibly run it on the front page of Kotaku.


  • I played it for a couple of days, but found it achingly dull. I enjoy math puzzles, but this left me cold.

    • Damn. PLayed a little and can’t even get past 96. Though in my defence, I’ve been pretty sick.

  • The interface is brilliant, I can definitely see the time they put into the design. Best score so far of 7806. Starting to cool off on it now though and heading back to ol’ faithful Sudoku.

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