100 Floors is a new iOS release from Tobi Apps. Like its spiritual — though unrelated — precursor DOOORS, 100 Floors is a “room escape” puzzle adventure game that has proven immensely popular with mobile gamers. At the time of writing, it is the No. 2 free app on iPhone having spent most of the month of May in the top 3 — occasionally even at No. 1. It’s available now as a free, non-Universal iPhone download from the App Store.
Like DOOORS, 100 Floors tasks players with escaping from a variety of innocuous-looking rooms using only the items around them and the capabilities of their phone. Rather than simply moving from room to room as in DOOORS, however, 100 Floors sees players attempting to open a series of elevator doors to ride up to the next floor. Despite the name, the game does not yet feature 100 levels, though the developer is providing regular free updates with new challenges as well as soliciting feedback and suggestions from the community.
Early levels are very simple, requiring the player to simply make one or two actions to open the doors. As the game progresses, however, solutions become more and more esoteric, making use of not only the touchscreen of the iPhone but also its accelerometer. Sometimes players might have to shake or tilt the device; others they must simply figure out what they need to tap, drag or pinch on in order to proceed.
Like most games of this type, 100 Floors offers absolutely no explanatory text whatsoever, meaning a key part of the experience for the player is discovering exactly what they have to do. This generally involves prodding, poking and pinching the screen as well as tilting or wobbling the device around just to see if anything happens. As happened with DOOORS and other similar games, an informal community has developed among the App Store reviewers for the game, posting solutions to the various puzzles in lieu of actual reviews.
The game monetizes entirely through banner ads present at the bottom of the screen during play. There is no facility to remove these via in-app purchase, and no other means for a player to give the developer money. The ads are not overly obtrusive, but it is at times easy to accidentally tap on them during play, causing the device to switch over to Safari and display the link in question. Some App Store reviewers have indicated that they would prefer a paid option to remove advertising altogether.
The game also does not feature any social features. Since the game is a solitary puzzle title, this is unsurprising, though the addition of a Game Center leaderboard showing progress, achievements to celebrate milestones or the facility to brag about solving particularly challenging floors via social networks would doubtless help with the game’s virality. That said, given that the game has been riding high in the charts for most of the month so far, one could argue that the game doesn’t need any additional help with promotion.
100 Floors is a simple, addictive, minimalist experience. Its popularity stems from the fact that while the puzzles offer no explanation, the discovery of a solution is immensely satisfying. While its high ranking in the charts may be relatively short-lived if DOOORS’ ranking pattern is anything to go by, it will doubtless help to build a good name for the developer along with some modest monetization via advertising.