Sawbuck Gamer


Zero, My Hero

Hundreds is a brain game for your fingers and vice versa.

By Derrick Sanskrit • January 8, 2013

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

Consider a drop of red wine spilled on a paper napkin. A crimson stain will spread as more wine is absorbed and the paper is weakened, prone to tearing while wet. Once dried, however, the stain remains as an impression, and the colored paper is fortified and sturdy. If you were to attempt to control this process, spreading the stain without tearing the napkin, you’d be playing a fair approximation of Hundreds, a minimalist puzzle game that is difficult to explain yet easy to understand.

The goal is simply to inflate the circles on screen so that the sum total of their values equals one-hundred, but Hundreds steadily introduces complications. Bubbles that pop, stones that obstruct, blades that deflate, snowballs that freeze, combinations of the above, and more all stand between you and triple-digit success. There’s also a series of increasingly complex ciphers for those of us who fancy ourselves amateur code-crackers. These word puzzles require the player to step outside of the established game world and reinforce the idea of thinking differently.

Hundreds is that unique sort of puzzle game that is as exhilarating as it is mentally taxing, where success requires a combination of quick wits and dexterous fingers. It’s a reminder that understanding the solution to a problem and acting on it are two different things, and while we may only be juggling three or four ideas at a time, it can often feel like hundreds.

Share this with your friends and enemies

Write a scintillating comment

11 Responses to “Zero, My Hero”

  1. JudgeReinhold says:

    Dammit, three in a row of iOS games? COME ON! 

  2. The_Tender_Vigilante says:

    Hundreds is alot of fun, but the inclusion of the word ciphers struck me as a very odd, if not poor choice.  Looking at the jumbled masses of letters and symbols that constitute the ciphers, I feel zero motivation to work through them given that (a) they are readily skipped, (b) the game gives you no apparent motivation to engage them, and (c) there is no logical nexus between the sleek, intuitive puzzle game and the seemingly random ciphers that pop up every 10 levels or so.  Perhaps I’m missing something due to my general apathy towards word ciphers.  Does anyone who’s worked through them have additional insight? 

    • I actually was obsessed with ciphers in second grade, so I instantly recognized the third one as a Ceasar Cipher and needed to pull out paper and pencil to work out the fourth one as a Shift Cipher. The fifth and sixth were a good deal harder and took a bit of trial and error before figuring out their secrets. Haven’t cracked the seventh yet, but I’ve had fun trying. I rather enjoyed the way they forced me to step outside of the iPad and actually use my brain and a notebook like I did when I was a kid. If they were easy to solve, I wouldn’t feel like I’d accomplished anything. Also, there is a prize to be had by solving the final one, but I think you can just google it.

      In conclusion, yes, unnecessary and totally optional, but delightfully nerdy.

  3. The_Misanthrope says:

    I’ve got a semi-secret about Semi-Secret Software:

    One of the people working there has the same excutiatingly-common first and last name combination as me!

    • Ardney says:

      Well, ‘The’ certainly is ubiqiutous but I wouldn’t have pegged ‘Misanthrope’ as being terribly common.