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2048: A unique matching puzzle

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With the release of the fantastic game Threes, recently covered here, a new genre of matching games was born. Those unfamiliar with gameplay details should probably consult said article first.

One would think the match-three genre had already exhausted all possibilities; however, we can be happy that wasn’t the case. Not only did Threes introduce a new type of puzzle, it did so with flair, polish, and a most excellent soundtrack.

Though Threes lacked nothing in its carefully crafted medley of puzzle, action, and strategy, it is no longer alone. Seeing similar games spring up in its wake is nothing new – Angry Birds and the more recent Flappy Bird both caused an avalanche of spinoffs of every possible variety and theme. But once in a great while, one of these contenders strikes a new chord.

Such is the case with the puzzle 2048. It seems the match two genre is really starting to take off – trying out both puzzles leaves one honestly wondering, which is better?

While most spinoffs bring nothing new to the table, aside from different graphics or a pay to win approach to the same basic puzzle, 2048 is literally a game-changer. With two simple changes, this new entry really does have something unique to offer puzzlers. It may not be as robust or mature as Threes, but it lacks little in that.

Threes has an initial hurdle of sorts; paired matches cannot take place until at least one three has been created, from a one and a two. In 2048, there is no such hurdle. Twos match to make fours, which match to make eights, on up to even higher powers of two. This would make the puzzle far easier, if it weren’t for the other change.

The second twist is that a single swipe slides all cards as far as they can go, unlike Threes where they only move one space at a time. Besides that, if there are multiple matches that can be made with a single move, all of them happen. In Threes, only the first available match occurs on each line.

The end result is a puzzle that is refreshingly new, yet surprisingly familiar. The strategy is similar, but not identical. This opens a whole new can of worms for both deep thinkers and casual puzzlers alike.

Try out this intriguing puzzle on either iOS or Android.

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