I’ve been going around my friends house a lot lately and watching Fairy Tail with him and his sister. On one of these days, his sister happened to be playing a game that looked like Tetris on her iPad at the corner of my eye. Seeing her pic this intriguing game up now and then to give it another go piqued my interest, so I asked her what game it was and set about downloading it.
That game in question is 1010!, a puzzle/strategy game where the only obstacle is yourself. The game starts off simple enough: you have a blank grid taking up theist majority of the screen, with three tetriminos at the bottom. It’s your task to put these tertiminos anywhere you would like on the screen, trying to make lines (either horizontally or vertically) to destroy them. Should you not be able to put a tetrimino on the grid its game over.
The first couple of times you play the game, chances are you’ll try and sign everything up so it looks perfect and straight, just like you would in Tetris. Problem is (as you’ll soon find out) making everything look lovely does not mean you’ll have a good game. There were many times where I would make it so that all I needed was a straight piece, then find the next three tetriminos all being shapes other than I needed, ending the game.
You soon start to realise (and master) that in order to do well in 1010! you must get rid of lines as soon as they appear. Yes, in doing so you’ll have a messy board with shapes and remnants of tetriminos sticking out all over the place, but at the end of the day the more space you have to play with, the easier life will be when it comes to sticking the new tetriminos on the grid.
It’s such a simple game, but is both a blast to play, and sticks to the design philosophy I love so much: keep it simple but hard. The only obstacle in this game is yourself; should you start organising everything neatly, you only have yourself to blame when the next random tile comes on screen that you can’t place.
Your score goes up for each tetrimino that you place on the grid, with destroying a line netting you more points. It’s your objective to last as long as possible, which is why being neat and tidy is not a good idea for survivability, and why I was finally able to beat my friends sisters high-score after a few hours of constant retrying.
The games addictive, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s simple, but damn well bloody hard, and you only have yourself to blame should anything cock up. You might spend the first couple of tries blaming the game when you have nowhere else to place tetriminos, but you soon start to realise; it’s all you.
1010! is free on iOS and Android, with the option to pay for the in-game ads to disappear. I found I needed to spend that £1.49, as the ads take up 5-10 seconds of your time between games, when all you want to do is jump straight back in after your own idiocy got you killed.