Summation is a numerical puzzler where you get to wrap your brain around some really simple addition. Or is it? Well yes it is. You get to sum up one plus four all the way to big numbers such as 25. I know it sounds easy, and to some extent it is.
Summation takes the basic foundation from one of my favourite puzzlers for the iPhone, Drop7, and turns it into something completely different. You have a bunch of numbered tiles in a nine tiles wide, and ten tiles high puzzle grid. In the top right corner of the screen you have your summation goal. When you create that sum those tiles disappear, and all tiles above the disappearing ones drop down. This is the foundation of combo making just like in a match three game. You get to put new tiles into the grid by dropping them from the top. To aid you the game also shows you the next upcoming tile. This gives you the chance to plan ahead.
Below the play area there are stars that count down for every sum of numbers you erase. When the stars reach zero you get a new target number, and a bunch of random numbers fall down adding further challenge. You can’t let any column fill up to the top as this leads to game over.
Summation starts off slowly with five as a target number, but when you get past twenty it gets pretty hard. And that is my main concern with Summation. It leaves casual gaming and enters into more focused areas of gaming. It isn’t the math that is hard but rather the analyze of the grid to find possible chains.
Graphics are simple and suitable to the game with chalked numbers on a blackboard. I would like to see some variation, and perhaps unlockable themes such as whiteboard.
The music is not too exciting, and if you have your own music playing the game asks if you want to let it play or if you want to use the game music. One big flaw to the game is the fact that the vibration can’t be set to off, not even when the iPhone is set to silent mode. It buzzes every time you make a sum, and just imagine longer chains. This excludes the game from my “boring meeting” list. Otherwise it would have been perfect as it keeps you occupied at the same time as your brain is active and focused.
Summation is certainly more fun than it seems, and with global leaderboards it is easy to get hooked. The vibration issue needs to be sorted to make it possible to play in all environments. What you need to consider though is whether you think math is fun or not. To me it is enjoyable to play Summation whereas others might find it just as boring as math homework.