Threes makes me angry. Well, mostly happy for the people behind it because they made an outstanding game. But “angry” with that “healthy” sort of “jealousy” that makes me want to go out and make even more stuff. But damn if they did not just set the standards for puzzle games up several notches. The sound effects are just beautiful. The puzzle pieces are talking to you. Greeting you as they appear on the field, egging you on as you take too much time to make your next move. Which you will do as one simple misstep will cause your run to go to hell. I saw someone make a roguelike comparison to Threes and it is spot on. You have a fairly good idea of what next pieces are coming and you have some sway as to where they will appear, but there is a bit of chance involved that makes you damn the game.
Until you realize that ultimately, the game over was your fault.
Beautiful animations and excellent sound effects aside, Threes just takes a simple concept and pushes it. The idea of three basic pieces, (1s, 2s and multiples of 3s) that each have their own hard rules (1s and 2s can only merge with each other, multiples of 3s can only merge with the same number).
I am happy to see it have success because when I was showing off subaku at last year’s BitSummit the most common response I got was “Oh, it’s math.” Now, the tone of that phrase shifted between “Yay, math!” and “Ugh, math!”, but as the son of a math teacher, I am well aware of the general population’s distaste for the subject.
So to see a game that requires such number play make it up in the rankings pleases me greatly. Threes is a beautiful game inside and out and well deserving of your three dollars.