Hundreds is a wholly unique concept with a lot of ambition. There isn’t really anything like it, and it belongs to its own weird little genre. If anything, it’s a reflex based puzzle game that takes a little too much time and luck than I’d like. As much as I wanted to fall in love with Hundreds, I’m glad we can at least get along.
There are strokes of brilliance in the game, don’t get me wrong, some of the levels I found incredibly satisfying to play. The levels that aren’t fun, however, take so much away from the experience I was so desperate to enjoy. The numbered circles fly around the screen, and it’s up to your skill to know when and where the most efficient time is to strike.
The problem is that sometimes it just doesn’t feel fun to play; some of the levels can force a groan out of me as soon as I see them. Too frequently it takes too much time to repeat the same level over and over looking for the best opportunity to finally finish it. Imagine if every few levels in Super Meat Boy, there were obstacles that were wildly unpredictable and could react in an infinite number of ways to your actions. Yes, the other levels would still be great, but having to put up with something that isn’t fun every once in a while makes can make me avoid it altogether. Retrying a level 20 times in a row and seeing the screen turn deep red to mark my horrible failure is infuriating, and that’s not necessarily the feeling I’m going for when I’m playing a video game. That said, it can still be hard to put down because it just looks so nice and feels so fluid to play. I can hardly even say that I dislike the game, I just can’t call myself a fan of a few its parts.
Hundreds does have a beautiful interface and a great simple aesthetic, made all the more pleasing by a soothing soundtrack. And, like I said, many of the levels are very fun to play. The circles react perfectly when you touch them, and it’s super rewarding to fill one up completely, see it take over three fourths of the screen, and see the victorious “100” pop up from the background. There is also an incredible amount of variety to the mechanics. Every 10 levels or so you’ll be introduced to a totally different object in the environment that changes how the next set of levels will work. Some of them work really well, a couple I can’t say I cared for. Also, after completing a set of levels, you are shown a large group of letters that practically beg to be unscrambled somehow. I’m not sure what they mean or what purpose they serve for the game, but it gave me a very Fez-esque feeling that something deeper lies below the surface.
I can’t really be mean to Hundreds because it does so much so well. I love parts of it, but as of now I doubt I’ll be fighting to make everyone play it throughout the year. I respect what it does, and enjoyed a lot of my time with it. It isn’t player hostile, and it doesn’t suffer from poor design. It just doesn’t click that certain way with me that my favorite games do. Whenever I actively dislike a game, trust me, you’ll know.
I can definitely see why some people are enjoying it so much, and the pedigree behind it (Adam Atomic, Canabalt) is filled with incredible talent. Just because it doesn’t exactly jive with my tastes doesn’t mean it won’t with yours; give it a try and maybe you’ll have hundreds of happy minutes well spent.
Image Source: polygon.com