Hundreds, a fantastic puzzler from Semi Secret Software, is now available from the app store. The game features an appealing minimalistic style, challenging design, and dead-simple touch mechanics that provide a tantalizing experience.
- Outstanding minimalistic presentation and clever level design
- Soundtrack is very cool
- Touch controls are responsive and easy to use
- Challenging elements, tons of levels, and an Endless mode
- Lack of description of some gaming elements leaves gamers in the dark
- Small screen devices add a bit of a challenge compared to iPads
Hundreds provides, what else, one hundred clever levels where the object is to expand circles until their collective size reaches 100. Circles can move freely around the playing area, though initial setups will often see a bunch of stationary circles that don’t move until acted upon by another force. Whenever you place your finger upon a circle, it turns red and expands, causing a counter in the circle’s center to increase rapidly. When you release your finger, the counter stops. Circles can bump into each other or bump into other objects provided that they don’t do so while expanding. If this happens, your attempt ends immediately. Once the total of all circle counters reaches 100, the level is complete. This could be the result of a single circle reaching 100, as in the first level, but it is more likely that you’ll have several circles with numbers that contribute to the overall effort.
Failed attempts are usually the result of not noticing a nearby object or trying to squeeze every last digit out of a circle that barely grazes an object that you thought you could avoid. A bunch of challenging objects and intriguing elements are introduced as you progress, such as bubbles that you need to pop to allow for expansion space and buzz saws that immediately reset the counter of any circle they touch back to zero. Some levels start with large circles containing negative numbers that must be reduced, or with circles attached to other circles that can only expand when both are touched at the same time. It’s wildly challenging and highly addicting.
The visual style is terrific, as gray circles carom around atop a white backdrop. The only non-grayscale color comes from the expanding circles, which really highlights the point of interest within the game nicely. A counter also appears in the background that gives you a real-time total of all counters, providing valuable feedback as to how close you are to the magic number. This is extremely helpful when trying to determine whether it’s worth attempting to squeeze out a couple more points from a precariously positioned circle. If you are close enough to hitting the mark, it may be worth taking advantage of any daylight to nab those last couple numbers. If you aren’t close enough, though, you may want to wait for a circle with a little more breathing room. The soundtrack is exceptionally good. Controls are strictly touch, with the occasional use of drag mechanics to move special blackened circles around the board to knock other objects around or act as a barrier. Some special circles can be paused indefinitely or for a very short time (like some buzz saws), providing strategic opportunities when used appropriately.
Replay value comes in the form of besting your personal records for quickest completion times or minimal touches utilized, both of which are totaled and maintained for each level. There are also a series of cryptic messages for the intrepid gamer to figure out, as well as an Endless mode to enjoy. We found that using an iPad made for a much easier experience, especially on some of the levels where the circles move at a fast pace. Play was serviceable on an iPod Touch, though targeting some circles or seeing around your fingers could often pose a challenge. Regardless, restarting a level takes no time at all and the game holds up no matter which device you play on. A universal app on launch sale for $2.99 (regularly $4.99), Hundreds earns a stellar 4.5-Dimple score.