Wave goodbye to every moment of spare time – and probably quite a bit of time you probably intended to spend doing other things – next week, as modern-day puzzle masterpiece Threes! comes to Steam. It’ll have Steam Deck support too, so there’s truly no escaping its irresistible charms.
This month marks the 10-year anniversary of developer’s Asher Vollmer wildfire hit, which found its way onto PC via a browser version at the end of 2015 after tearing up mobile charts – and spawned a whole load of knock-offs along the way, most famously 2048. Still, a decade later, the original remains unmatched in terms of a simple puzzle idea executed with such laser-focused precision to your mesolimbic system that it can perform the magic trick of vanishing hours at a time as you try to up your score.
For those yet to experience that magic: Threes! is a puzzle game in which you slide a grid of numbered blocks around, with matching numbers that add up to multiples of three (hence the name!) melding together into ever-bigger totals. Melding the numbers frees up space on your grid for more numbers, so the aim is to keep adding and adding to watch the numbers get as big as possible.
That really is it, and yet Threes! is so much more than that – saying it’s a “numbers puzzle game” is like calling Tetris a “block stacking puzzle”. The genius is in its simplicity, and the fact that Threes! doesn’t need anything more than its foundational premise, clean design (courtesy of artist Greg Wohlwend) and Jimmy Hinson’s tinkling score to be something you find yourself playing in every free second.
Threes!’s upcoming launch on Steam will add a little bit more to the original. Most importantly, it’ll come with full Steam Deck support – including touch controls – so you can play on the go if you want a bigger screen than your phone. It’ll also have controller and keyboard control schemes as an alternative.
The PC port’s other features include cloud saves, achievements and an alternative soundtrack for the game’s night mode. That’s nice and all, but it’s still Threes! – and that’s what’s really important here. It’ll be out on Steam next Tuesday, February 6th, on the exact 10th anniversary of the game. Happy birthday, Threes!