Turning inner space into outer space

May 12, 2013

The game of Dots is all about squares

What do journalists do in their spare time? Those at the business publication Quartz play a hot new game on their smartphones called Dots.

The concept behind Dots is simple. You get a six-by-six grid of different coloured dots and clear as many as possible within one minute by connecting like colours. As you clear them, more dots drop down from above.

The more you clear, the more points you get. This is important, because you can use those points to trade in for special powers such as the ability to clear one dot alone.

Why would you want to do that? Because the key to big scores is making squares. When you make a square, every dot of the same colour is expelled from the grid. This leaves fewer colours, making it easier to create more squares and rack up even more points.

And the single-dot power-up makes it easier to rearrange other dots to make the squares.

I learned this strategy by reading a rather lengthy article at the Quartz website that goes into detail on how best to improve your score. The folks there seem to believe that anything below 500 is unworthy. About the best I’ve been able to do is 167 — clearly putting me out the Quartz league.

Along with the single-dot power-up, there are two others you can can get with points — a time pause and an exploder. Dots generally gets good reviews at the App Store, but some people have complained that there should be a greater variety of power-ups. I can see what they mean — the novelty of Dots wore off fairly quickly for me.

Also, I wonder what it’s like to work for a publication where the employees spend much of their time playing games? Seems like a job at Quartz truly is something to aspire to.