The developers of Canabalt have gone all circles on us.
Created by one of my personal favourite indie developers Semi Secret Software it is no wonder that this is one polished puzzler. These developers have just a handful of games on the App Store, and all of them have been quality titles. From the game that started the endless runner craze Canabalt to the beautiful underwater homage to Metroid Aquaria there are no fillers. So when Semi Secret Software set out to do a puzzle about circles they knew what they were doing.
The gameplay of Hundreds is simple to grasp, but also really hard to master. Some part of my brain underestimates the challenge over and over. Filling up circles to get an even hundred sounds so simple. Just touch a circle to let it grow. While it grows it turns red, and during this time it can’t touch any other circle, or obstacle. Other circles bounce about, and change direction when they bounce against each other. Growing one causes new movements, and it becomes harder to calculate when you can touch a circle.
There is some strategy to the game, but it is at heart an arcade game where reactions and quick decisions are key. Especially releasing circles quickly, and take some time not touching anything is important. As the game progresses you get more and more obstacles, and new ways to interact with them circles. Some are connected, and to grow them you have to touch them simultaneously. All of a sudden there are double the amount of input to keep track off.
On the third level I was hooked by the simple gameplay, clean graphics and chillout soundtrack. On the tenth level I was one with the circles, and like a bull I started to feel anger at the colour red. On the twentieth level I never wanted the game to end. With over one hundred levels, and my slow reaction times I doubt the game will ever end. For those great at playing agile iOS games such as Eliss this might be less of a challenge.
Games about filling up objects on the screen by touching them have been around ever since the App Store opened, but there hasn’t been that much of a revolution to the genre. Hundreds takes the formula, and adds puzzle elements and most importantly a sense of purpose. As a player I feel that reaching a hundred for each of these levels actually matter, and I am rewarded when I manage to. Whenever I fail, and get a red screen I feel that I have failed the game and I promise myself, and the grey circles to do better.