6 Numbers purports to be a “whole new puzzle game about numbers” but in actual fact it’s almost exactly the same as the company’s previous title Brainbow Numbers (formerly Numbers Together, which our sister site Inside Mobile Apps reviewed here) with a few important differences. The main distinguishing factor between the two games is that Brainbow Numbers is a fast-paced competitive multiplayer number puzzle, while 6 Numbers is a much more sedate single-player affair with only very mild competition between friends.
Both 6 Numbers and Brainbow Numbers work in the same way, which is somewhat akin to the “numbers round” in the long-running French game show Des Chiffres et de Lettres, better known to English-speakers in its British incarnation as Countdown. Players are given a target number to attain, and must reach it by using only the six numbers provided up to once each, and the four basic arithmetical operators as many times as they desire. Calculations can be completed in multiple steps by feeding the answer to a previous equation into the next one, so in this way the player can work with a much wider range of possible numbers than the selection of six initially appears to offer. For example, to attain the target number of 505 using the available numbers 9, 100, 5, 3, 2 and 4, the player could multiply 100 by 5 to get 500, then add 3 to 2 to get 5, then add the result of the first equation to the second to get the target number.
Brainbow Numbers was an asynchronous multiplayer puzzle game which challenged pairs of player to complete the same puzzles faster than their opponent. 6 Numbers, meanwhile, simply requires that players complete the puzzles at their own pace — there is no competitive multiplayer, and no time limit. If the player decides to connect to Facebook from within the game, there is a leaderboard which tracks how many levels the player and their friends have completed, but there is no detailed statistics or scoring facility.
Due to 6 Numbers’ slower pace than Brainbow Numbers, the former adopts a social strategy similar to other casual puzzle games such as the myriad “4 pics 1 word” variants currently available on the App Store in that it allows users to share their current problem on Facebook and/or Twitter in order to get some help and/or challenge their friends to complete the same puzzle. This facility is sometimes overused by users to such a degree that they might as well not be playing the game any more. It’s also possible to expend in-game currency — earned at a very slow rate during play or in larger quantities via in-app purchase — to unlock “hints” for each puzzle. These come in three different levels that are increasingly expensive — each one reveals more steps in the current puzzle, with the top option all but solving it for the player; the very definition of “pay to win.”
The game also monetizes through the sale of four “level packs” — an easy one, a medium-difficulty one, a hard one and an “ultimate” one. For some reason, as the level packs become more difficult, they also become more expensive — the easy and medium packs cost $0.99 each while the hard pack costs $1.99 and the “ultimate” pack costs $2.99. The user also has the option of purchasing all the packs for $4.99, which is marginally better value.
6 Numbers is a decent game, but without the competitive multiplayer element of Brainbow Numbers it’s just not quite as fun. It feels more like an idle distraction (or worse, math homework) than a full-fledged game, whereas Brainbow Numbers’ fast-paced time-limited gameplay forced players to develop their mental agility as well as their numeracy skills. It’s also a little disappointing that Brainbow has now effectively released the same game twice rather than trying to make their second game stand out as something new — 6 Numbers’ single-player gameplay should have perhaps just been added to Brainbow Numbers as an optional mode, maybe as an in-app purchase.
None of this is to say that 6 Numbers is bad — it’s put together well and seems to be performing quite well in the App Store so far — it’s just a shame it’s not anything more than it is. Wait and see how it performs compared to its predecessor.
You can follow 6 Numbers’ progress with AppData, our tracking service for mobile and social games and developers.
A reasonably fun diversion for math fans, but not as entertaining as its almost-identical predecessor.