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TwoDots review:Whimsical, addictive game that takes patience

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The Good TwoDots is easy enough to get you hooked and hard enough to keep you feeling challenged. The game's design is fun and playful, which makes up for the frustratingly hard levels.

The Bad In-app purchases can add up, and when you run out of lives, you have to wait 20 minutes to play again.

The Bottom Line TwoDots is one of the best games you can play this year, just watch out for those in-app purchases.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

8.8 Overall
  • Setup 10
  • Features 8
  • Interface 9
  • Performance 9

Review Sections

TwoDots (iOS|Android) is the delightful sequel to Betaworks' 2013 hit Dots . The game premise is simple -- you connect two or more dots to remove them from the playing field -- but this version adds challenges, obstacles, and power-ups to keep everything fresh.

The game launched for iOS in May 2014, but it took until November to arrive on Android. The app is free, but there are in-app purchases that'll cost you around $1 per power-up or extra life. A recent update added new levels to the iOS game, and the Android release includes those, too.

Design

TwoDots is colorful and bright from top to bottom. While the original Dots game had a simple look, with a white background and plain menu, TwoDots is filled with creative illustrations and playful animations in the menus and colorful backgrounds in some levels.

The game is divided into different worlds, each with its own themes on the menu screen. When you reach a new world, the game shows you an illustrated postcard introducing you to the new terrain. You start in the beginning world, which is a wall of tools and trophies that looks like it was lifted from a Wes Anderson movie. Then you move into an under-the-sea motif where you need to sink anchor dots in your levels. There's an icy tundra followed by a volcano, then a fiery forest, and a desert and so on.

twodots-worlds.jpg
TwoDots has a cartoony design with themed "worlds" to play in. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

What's really enticing about these worlds is that they have their own characters and whimsical animations on the screen. The tundra, for example, is inhabited by a sunglasses-wearing Yeti that moves its arms in time with the music that plays throughout the game.

TwoDots also has music for each world, and the gameplay features interactive sound effects that aren't distracting or irritating. If you're not keen on either, you can turn off the music and sounds in the settings.

Also in the settings is colorblind mode, which puts tiny symbols in each dot. I highly recommend using colorblind mode, not only because it makes the dots look cooler, but also because it makes each level much easier to see, especially when there's the occasional dark-colored background.

How to play

Playing TwoDots is quite simple: you connect two or more same-colored dots together to clear them from the screen. Like in Dots, you can make a square of dots to clear out all of that color from the field. In many levels, you'll need to make squares in order to win, so you'll want to look for every opportunity to do that as often as you can.

If there are no available moves on the screen, which happens when there are no two dots of the same color next to each other, the board automatically shuffles the dots.

For each level, there's a star rating; you earn stars by racking up points from the dots you clear. You'll see your progress at the bottom of the screen, in the progress bar, and each time you earn a star, you'll hear a short chime. You can also see your score and star rating when you complete a level.

twodots-play.jpg
Each level has a field of dots that you must connect to clear them from the screen. Obstacles, like the fire dots above, try to get in your way. Screenshot by Sarah Mitroff/CNET

You get the chance to earn medals for each level, but only if you connect your Facebook account. The top scores among you and your friends earn gold, silver and bronze metals.

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