Dots was a huge hit on mobile because it so perfectly touched on that cross between simple and addictive many mobile games miss. Connect the dots, clear the board, win points. But there wasn’t a lot more to it, something TwoDots tries to address by, well, imitating every Facebook game out there.
The problem with TwoDots starts with the overly familiar gameplay: You’ve got to connect a certain number of dots of each color within a set number of moves. It gets harder as you progress and the game winnows down the moves or adds new complications. You get a set number of lives and once you run out, you either pay for more or wait for a timer to tick over. And of course, there are power-ups.
Similarly, the story, because there has to be a story, is the typical tiresomely whimsical BS you find on so many iOS games and apps. It’s so twee you almost find yourself wondering if this isn’t, in fact, an elaborate Portlandia sketch you’re the unwitting participant in.
It’s a little disappointing because the original Dots, while not exactly chess, was fun in of itself; you didn’t have to pay for anything to make the game compelling. Granted, it, like most mobile games, was designed to kill time in waiting rooms, but the simple minimalism was a welcome change of pace. It racked up twenty million downloads for excellent reason.
The good news is that at least that minimalism is retained within the actual gameplay. The art style is unfortunately slathered with retro whimsy everywhere else, especially the level screen, but, at root, it’s the same Dots gameplay you know.
It makes sense in that the team behind Dots has to eat, so they’ve got to sell power-ups and ads. But it’s disappointing that their followup was so lacking in creativity, and somehow, we doubt there’s a ThreeDots on the way.