DOTS

Play Again.

An even square of perfectly formed dots in harmonious shades of blue, red, yellow, green, purple flits onto the screen. The colors are grouped in two, threes, sevens; a single green dot in a sea of blue and red; a stair-step of yellow. Pair consecutive dots and they blink from existence. Nestling the dots in tiny, perfect squares and rectangles creates the opportunity for explosive connection: linking this group of blue dots evaporates blue from the grid and settles the remaining colors in pleasing bundles of their own. After thirty moves or sixty seconds, your beautiful dots disappear and you’re left with nothing but the cold, hard truth. You didn’t beat your max score. Not even close.

Play Again.

This is why I can’t stop playing DOTS.

This game is beautiful – really, it is. It’s also a devious execution of perfect game mechanics. It’s a lot like other pairing games — Bejeweled, Candy Crush, etc — but with a design-y look-and-feel that sets it apart. I thought I’d write out a few of the characteristics that make it so darned addictive.

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Scarcity
The free version of Dots gives you two options for gameplay: timed and number of moves. Both are maddeningly short. Just long enough to get you lulled into the comfortable routine of swiping dots, but short enough that the end feels sudden and crushing. When that final screen pops up, you can’t help but click “Play Again.” You just got in your groove!

Randomness
Every game is different. That means every round you have a chance to get a more favorable first seed of dots than last time, powering a curiosity that fuels “one more round….”

Feedback
When you finish a round, your score is displayed alongside your best score. “Here’s how you did,” it says, “But here’s how much you missed by.” This triggers an “I can beat that” instinct and makes it almost impossible for me not to reflexively press “Play Again.” I know I can beat that high score this time! One more round!

Easter Eggs
The game also builds in cool, sort of useless features if you dig through the Settings. Like the Christmas Theme, or Lights Out Theme.

This makes for a more personalized experience and gives us more mileage out of the same general game idea. This one has a snowman! I’ll just play two more rounds!

Beautiful Design
And as I mentioned above, the game is just beautiful. It’s simple, uses pleasing color combinations and icons, has nice typography, and gives you funny little dot-doodled character trophies.

Who wouldn’t want to hit that achievement? Look at her! She’s so cute! The simplicity isn’t just beautiful, it’s also soothing – we’re not dealing with a lot of outside noise or other stimuli in the game so we can zone out and focus on swiping. Swipe. Swipe.

So there you have it – all the reasons I’m obsessed with this little game. Download it if you dare.

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