If you’re late to the game, 2048 is a simple number puzzle which made waves when it hit the web and app stores back in 2014. It continues the tradition started by the similar game Threes! It comes in both iOS and Android versions, though it’s interesting to note that different teams actually developed the different versions of the app. There are also a large range of clones of this game available in both app stores (they generally feel very similar to each other and are free of charge, so it doesn’t matter too much which you choose. We’ve linked to/reviewed the versions produced by the author of the original web version).
You start play on a 4×4 field where the numbers 2, 4 and 8 appear in three of the cells. You can move all of the cells as far as possible in one of 4 available directions and when two cells of the same number touch, they merge into one cell with the value of their combined total. Your goal is to create a cell with the number 2048 in it.
This particular version of the app seems to experience some issues registering swipes, which is a little annoying though not so much as to spoil the experience. It also contains ads. That said, the game itself remains thoroughly engaging and is simple enough that these small negatives don’t detract much from the gameplay.
The game could help you to develop some math and logic skills. Though the mechanics of it are simple enough to play with even without any mathematical or logical understanding. Even very young players can find the game interesting as it’s really easy to learn how to play. Ultimately the game’s concept is to match similar numbers, something even young kids can do.
The app gives a good opportunity for parents to teach some basic math and perhaps to discuss ways to apply it in real life with their kids. It also promotes some form of strategic thinking and planning. That said, this is not an “educational app” on it’s own strength, it’s very easy to play it mindlessly after you’ve picked up how it works.
Is 2048 addictive?
Oh yeah. Time flies when you’re playing 2048. If you play it while going somewhere on a bus be careful not to miss your stop! Looking at some of the reviews I spotted several requests for a “night mode” to enable more comfortable late night playing… make of that what you will.
2048 does have an ongoing place on my phone. It can be a stress buster for those who find number puzzles calming and a short term distraction for kids in those moments when you’re out in public and suddenly need to occupy their attention for some reason.