AppTastic Tuesday: Rules!

Today begins what will be a mainstay of Words on the Word in 2015: AppTastic Tuesdays. First up: the iOS app Rules!


Rules Pile of Animals


Rules! is part zone-out tapping, part memory-training app. The gameplay itself is fast-paced, fun, easy, and aesthetically pleasing. Watch this short trailer to get caught up:



The actual tapping of icons is easy–the game is quite touch-responsive and fast. And the rules are clear enough:


Tap Odd Numbers


When you complete what rule 1 calls for, you move up to rule 2. Having completed rule 2 on the screen, you then apply rule 1 to the remaining icons. There are 100 levels of rules, though I have barely made it past 15.

When the game introduces a new rule, you get a screen like this:


Rule 13 Icon


But then after completing rule 13, it tells you simply, “Now follow rule 12,” “Now follow rule 11,” “Now follow rule 9,” and so on.

So it’s more than about the gameplay itself–you’ve got to memorize the rules as you go; you’ve got to know them by number.

This makes it a less-than-ideal zone-out game. Threes is by no means boring but mindless enough that you can come home to it at the end of a long day. Rules! is not so. It demands more of your mind.

You will probably find yourself, as I did, using some mnemonic device to remember 8-10 rules at once, so you can perform the appropriate actions on the screen in front of you.

There are three game modes: Beginner, Expert, Timeless (i.e., no countdown clock). The scoring rewards you for speed and accuracy:


New High Score


The need to memorize a host of rules in order to do well caused me to lose interest more quickly with Rules! than I have with other iOS games.

But Rules! especially excels in two areas: (1) its accompanying music is pretty, well-written, and good for focusing, and (2) its layout and design is gorgeous. Even the fail screen looks good:


Time Is Up


So, for $1.99 in the App Store, if you’re up for a mental challenge with good music and beautiful design, check it out and see if you can–as one player on Twitter recently did–get through all 100 levels.


Thanks to the makers of Rules! for giving me a download for the review. Check out the app’s site here.

Threes: New Addictive iPad/iPhone App to Play

Threes IconI never did get the 2048 tile. I’ve beaten the last boss on Sky Force, but there are still parts of the game I haven’t unlocked.

While I’ve found lots of ways to use the mobile iOS device productively (I’m looking especially at you, OmniFocus), I have also been on the lookout for good diversions.

Enter Threes.

The obvious comparison is to 2048, but this game has more character. The numbers, for example, have names:


Say Hello to Threejay
Say Hello to Threejay


If you look closely at the 6 and the 3 on the bottom row, you can see they’ve got little faces, too. And–the best part of the game–they make sounds and talk to you when you move them around to add them together: “Hi!”, “Hello!”, “Hey, guys!”, “Okay,” “Sup?”, etc. Sometimes a tile might even growl at you. (Right now my three kids are laughing at the sound effects and repeating them while my wife plays. I need to finish this post and get back to the game!)

There’s also a great music soundtrack you can toggle on or off when you play.

Threes has two basic rules:

  1. The 1 tile can only be added to the 2 tile, and vice versa.
  2. Tiles with numbers 3 and up each combine with the same number (3 with 3, 6 with 6, 12 with 12, etc.).

The game offers a really simple, quick tutorial to get you started.

Here’s what a board-in-progress looks like:


Threes Board


Being able to see the next tile (by color–at the top of the screen) is a nice advantage.

There’s a good sense of humor throughout the game (already noted above). Even the “Clear Scores” option says, “This will clear the data but not the memories.”

And you get confetti when it tallies up your final score, after you are out of moves:


4_Final Score


It’s fun for the whole family, kids to adults. 2048 was free, but this is easily worth the $1.99, which gets you the app both on iPhone and iPad. Find it here.


Thanks to the maker of Threes for giving me a download for the review.