A lot of people are startlingly quick to point out that many of the best things in life are free. Hugs, they’ll say. The smell of puppies, they’ll say. These people do not, as a rule, add that many of the things that are not the best things in life are also free. Migraines are free. As a rule, botulism is free, though of course times are changing.
Do you know what else is free? A devious little slippy-slidy puzzle game called 2048; and it is at once better than the smell of puppies and worse than botulism. It will also give you a free migraine.
The idea is simple: you start off with two numbered squares in a frame that can hold 16. Press an arrow key and the squares will fall in that direction, after which another square will appear. If two squares of the same number collide, they form one square with double the value.
Now the challenge: can you form a square with the value of 2048? To start off with you might think you can – it has a pleasing sort of simplicity, and it’s immediately intuitive. But wouldn’t you know, it claws its way up into successively nauseating dimensions of complexity; fairly quickly, you will HATE IT. (But you won’t be able to stop playing.)
It’s really quite the thing. Think of a Rubik’s Cube mapped onto a sliding puzzle with an extra dose of terrible cursing and maybe the bleeding of the eyes. It will make you feel stupid. Unless of course it doesn’t, in which case you should probably be in some sort of secret government programme.