Review: Hundreds is maddeningly addictive

Hundreds featureHundreds has taken the App Store by storm. Brought to us by Semi Secret Software and the brilliant indie game developers Adam Saltsman (Canabalt) and Greg Wohlwend (Solipskier), Hundreds was originally a Flash game that has been completely overhauled for iOS devices. Rather than a simple port, the game builds upon the impressive foundation and expands upon it creatively and effectively. The result is a fast-paced, heart-racing puzzler that will leave you frustrated, yet always coming back for more.

As the name suggests, the basic goal of Hundreds is to tap circles, which gain in numeric value as you press them, until you reach a combined numeric value of 100. The catch, however, is that while holding down the circles they will turn red and grow in size. If the circles are touched while expanding you lose.

At first play, Hundreds may appear simplistic, but as you progress through the game the levels become increasingly more difficult. New elements and more obstacles are introduced making for a more challenging experience.

As you’d expect with any new puzzler, the early levels consist of much easier gameplay, offering up the bare bones of this clever and fascinating challenge. What starts off as simply inflating a single circle quickly turns into you having to deal with multiple circles bouncing around the screen and bumping into each other. It doesn’t stop there, though. Later levels introduce more clever challenges like wandering shurikens that shrink any circles they come into contact with, ice bubbles which freeze circles in both position and size, and circles which slowly shrink over time. Those are just a taste of what to expect.

Hundreds gameplay

Unfortunately, there’s a certain level of randomness in the way the circles bounce that removes a sense of personal fault from mistakes. Frustration as a result of a mistake will leave you with a bitter feeling because of the fact that it’s really not in your control the way the circles move and bounce. This randomness does create successfully create difficulty, but also a sense of “cheap deaths”.

This sense of cheap death is heightened on smaller iOS devices like the iPhone. Hundreds is a game of space and on smaller iOS devices you suffer from limited screen space. Tapping the smaller circles may prove to be more difficult whereas on a larger device, like the iPad, you’ll have more room to see. There isn’t necessarily more space for the circles, but it certainly does make pressing the correct circle easier.

Regardless of whether you consider the circles touching your fault or a bit of bad luck, Hundreds is unforgiving. One touch while the circles are red and you lose, forcing you to restart the level. To put it simply, Hundreds is maddeningly addictive. I will note that the frustration that arises from your deaths — and you will die — also serves as a nice motivator to completing the challenge. You’ll get angry, but when you do manage to complete the level, the pride is heightened that much more.

Hundreds gameplay 2

Of course, a game like this relies on its responsiveness. Even a fraction of a delay can result in your demise. Thankfully, Hundreds features meticulous and responsive controls. It’s minimalist presentation and simple color scheme is welcoming, but does create a sense of urgency with the hint of red and it’s mesmerizing soundtrack.

Overall, Hundreds is a wonderful blend of simple concept and devilish gameplay. The game takes basic touch-based mechanics and cleverly incorporates new elements and twists to it. The result is a game that, despite a simplistic concept, never leaves you with a feeling of repetitiveness. Each level (of which there are 100) throws a new challenge at you, and it’s that surprise (and challenge) that makes you continue playing — despite your frustration.

Hundreds is on sale for $2.99 until January 10, at which point it will return to its normal prices of $4.99. If you enjoy fast-paced, heart-racing puzzlers, I definitely recommend this game.

Score: 9/10

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