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Like the best puzzlers Hundreds is a complex game, yet it's also one that's built from the kind of simple foundations that seem so obvious in hindsight that you wonder why nobody thought of them before.
As a very primitive description, Hundreds is a game about managing the growth of circles to reach that elusive total of 100. Holding your finger down on a circle increases both its size and the number displayed upon it, but there's a catch. Other circles are also floating around the screen and bumping into each other, and should you come into contact with one of these while you're inflating your current circle, you'll have to restart the level.
As you might expect, the early levels offer up only the bare bones of this fascinating challenge. After inflating a single, enormous circle on the screen, you'll next have to deal with multiple spheres, delicately growing each one in order to hit the magic total while they drift towards each other and affect each others' trajectories. It's a delicate balancing act, but one rounded off with a sense of delight when you just manage to hit your target score and succeed at a level.
Of course, things get much harder after a while. Poppable bubbles confine movement around the screen until you carefully remove them, for example. Many levels feature negative number circles which need to be shrunk to achieve your target number. Once you reach the mid-point of the game, you'll have to account for wandering shurikens which shrink any circles they come into contact with, ice bubbles which freeze circles in both position and size, and circles which slowly shrink over time.
In other words, Semi Secret Software has done an extraordinary job of teasing out a complex game from only the most basic gameplay fundamentals, and has overlaid that fascinating gameplay with some equally elegant visuals. At $2.99 it may be a little pricier than the average app, but you're getting a generous selection of levels for the cost, and there's some very inventive strategy to be discovered in the vast majority of them.
The game doesn't quite represent perfection as we found the difficulty level a little spiky, and the shuriken elements sit awkwardly with the gentler strategy found elsewhere. Nevertheless, Hundreds is a must-have title for anyone who craves something fresh from the App Store, and represents a fine start for puzzle gaming in 2013.
What's Hot: An intriguing and fresh gaming concept, effortlessly styled and packed full of imaginative design.
What's Not: The difficulty curve can be a little spiky.