Dots: A Game About Connecting
by Playdots, Inc.
operating system: android also available for iOS & Windows Phone | price: FREE | size: 14 mb | category: Brain & Puzzle

BY SHAWN KERR | Dots is a free puzzle game that is quick and easy to pick up. The game has been available to iOS users for a while now, but was just recently added to the google play store for Android users.
In Dots you connect 2 or more dots in a row by drawing a line between them. You can make as many turns as you like, but connecting dots diagonally is off limits and you cannot trace over a connection already made. When you connect the dots they disappear from the screen and the columns fall into place, pulling new dots in from the top of the screen. Those are the basics of the game.

Once you’ve played a little you’ll find that if you create a square of any size while connecting dots you will erase all the dots of that color from the screen. With 5 different colors of dots this makes creating long strings of dots much easier as well as making it easier to make more squares and continue the cycle.

There are 3 power ups that you can purchase with dots, the currency you earn by playing the game (aka: not by spending real money). You can stop time for 5 seconds – usable once per game, you can shrink a dot out of existence – unlimited usability per game, and you can expand a dot to erase all dots of the same color from the map – usable once per game. These three power ups make it possible to develop intense strategies for maximizing your score.

There are two game modes, Timed and Moves. In Timed you have 60 seconds to make as many connections as you can. Moves gives you a certain number of moves to connect as many dots as possible. There is a third game mode, Endless, that can be unlocked by paying for it.

I love Dots. The game was fantastic in part because it was easy to pick up, it has a steep learning curve, and enjoying the game isn’t reliant on some high level skill. The game is played in 60 second bursts in Timed mode (65 if you use the stop time power up) or however long it takes you to go through 30 moves in Moves mode (which is usually not much longer than 5 minutes if you’re really taking your time). It was also somewhat relaxing, watching the dots pop out of existence as I traced my finger through line after line of same colored dots, kind of like a visual version of bubble wrap.

I personally found the game most enjoyable when I was just relaxing and killing time. It’s a great game for when you’re in a waiting room, on the toilet, or just looking to kill a few minutes. The only pressure when playing the game is the pressure you put on yourself.

That said, Dots has several features that can make it highly competitive. You can have multiple accounts on one device. This makes it easy to compete against your friends and family locally (although you’ll have to pass your phone or tablet around). You can also connect to Facebook or Twitter to compete against your friends and followers in the game. There’s also a global leaderboard. All of this gives those who want some competition in their puzzle games that possibility.

The game, while great, is not without flaw. Often times I found that my fingers were a little too swift to trace a connection between dots. Tracing from dot to dot needs to be fairly precise (which may be an intentional mechanic) and I found myself misstepping somewhat often if I didn’t slow my swipes. In a game where you have only 60 seconds, speed is everything. As well, if you are creating a line of four dots you can’t just connect the first dot with the last dot, you have to connect each dot in between. While minor, it made gameplay somewhat frustrating when I was really starting to get into the game.

I recommend Dots to… well… everyone. Dots is a fun simple game that can be played by everyone thanks to its simplicity. More invested gamers can also spend some time by developing strategies to improve their scores and work towards the global leaderboards. The game is fun overall and seeing as its free the only thing you have to lose is a little bit of hard drive space on your phone or Tablet.