Hundreds is the newest game from Semi Secret Software—the developers most likely well known for the endless runner, Canabalt. In Hundreds, players are tasked with one goal: increasing the size of on-screen circles until their numerical sum equals one hundred. The game’s first level provides the simplest example of how this is done. Players are presented with a single, stationary circle, and all that is needed to win is to tap and hold a finger on the circle until it reaches one hundred. Although this sounds very simple, the designers of this game have carefully and intentionally developed all one hundred levels to create an experience that is constantly mind-bending, novel, and smart in almost every way.
Although the underlying goal in any given level in Hundreds is very simple, the solution is not always so straightforward. As soon as players finish the first level, they get introduced to additional rules and mechanics that rule the game world, and it is the layering of these rules and mechanics that give the game its depth and challenge. As players progress, the rules they are introduced to, such as “If they touch when red then you are dead,” will initially present themselves in a very simple way. Then, the game will turn these rules on their head, or otherwise force players to be mindful of these concepts in increasingly more difficult scenarios.
The brilliance of this structure comes just when players feel they’ve reached their limit on manipulating a particular set of rules. After overcoming what may seem to be the pinnacle of challenge given the rules and mechanics in play, the subsequent level drops off in difficulty to introduce a new concept and teach the player how it works, only then to build up the challenge again using this new mechanic and mixing it with rules that have previously been taught to the player. This kind of pacing makes the game quite addicting. Players will find themselves ready to put the game down after overcoming a long session of trial and error or methodical tapping to surmount an extremely difficult puzzle, only to be intrigued by the next mechanic waiting to be introduced in the next level.
If one hundred handcrafted puzzles of relative simplicity but complex depth weren’t enough, the game also presents the players with encoded messages at the end of some levels that players can work to decode as well as an endless mode that players can unlock after completing a certain number of levels. With these additional features, Hundreds definitely presents itself as a complete package for puzzle game enthusiasts, and can occupy players long after completing the main game.
Hundreds is not just a great playing puzzle game though, it is also very pleasing to the senses. Although the visuals are not impressive from a technical standpoint, its minimalistic presentation and use of color contrast makes it very easy on the eyes. The music and sound of the game is also very straightforward, but still very pleasing, making the whole experience feel very calm and collected, even when your fingers are scrambling around the screen trying to find the perfect opportunities to tap and grow your circles.
Although Hundreds is a universal app, the best experience with the game is definitely on the iPad. Because the game requires players to tap to grow objects when they are not in contact with any other object, fingers can too easily obscure obstacles on smaller screens, which can make the game quite a frustrating experience on the iPhone or iPod Touch. With the screen size problem aside, however, there is almost nothing else wrong with this game, unless paying $4.99 for an iOS game seems like too much money.
Hundreds is a great game that is loaded with content that will keep players occupied for a good long while. The game is a completely unique experience that is tailored for touch control, and executes on its simple concepts in a very intelligent and satisfying way. If you are up for the investment and like puzzle games, Hundreds is easy to recommend.