Dots is simple — perhaps too simple. The mobile puzzle game, which is currently on its way to China, became a hit thanks to its clever and intuitive color-matching mechanic. But outside of high-score chasing, the game doesn't offer a great deal of depth and can become tedious after a while. Today developer Betaworks is launching a surprise sequel called TwoDots that fixes this problem, taking the core Dots gameplay and forcing you to use it in clever new ways.
The basics of the game remain the same: you clear away groups of two or more similarly colored dots by connecting them with either vertical or horizontal swipes. If you manage to make a square, you'll clear away every dot of the same color on the screen. It remains as intuitive as ever, letting you quickly swipe your way around to match colors. The difference here is that instead of chasing after a high score, you'll play through a series of well-designed levels, each with a different challenge. Using a predetermined number of moves, you'll need to complete different challenges, usually related to clearing away a specific number of dots of each color. The game also introduces new features like anchors, which you clear away by pushing them to the bottom of the screen.
TwoDots is full of life and color
This adds more purpose to the Dots formula, and because each level has a different layout and different goals, it adds a lot more variety. The game currently features 85 different stages to play through, with more on the way. It's not a unique structure by any stretch — in fact it's nearly identical to that of Candy Crush Saga, right down to a few free-to-play annoyances. Each time you fail a level you'll lose one of your five lives, for instance, and these replenish either by paying money or waiting 20 minutes of real world time. Likewise, failing a level also brings up a popup that offers you a few more moves in exchange for $0.99.
Luckily, it's never quite as bad as in games like Candy Crush, as the levels don't feel designed to be punishingly difficult in order to extract cash from you. You'll still fail, but this is a game more about strategy than blind luck. Sometimes it just takes a fresh set of eyes to figure out how to beat a puzzle. Aside from the new structure, TwoDots also features a wonderful new art style, which includes a whimsical map covered in giant squids and abdominal snowmen. Whereas Dots was minimalistic to the point of boredom, TwoDots is full of life and color. (You'll even collect charming postcards from each area you complete.) The game is available for free on iOS now, with an Android version due out later this year.