Puzzle games are a dime a dozen on mobile, and often times they resemble one of a few genres. Whether it's bubble popping, connect 3, or Tetris clones, mobile players are no strangers to repetitive experiences. While browsing the Google Play store, I stumbled upon Calculator: The Game. My immediate response was of disbelief. Sure, I've played Math Blaster like any other kid who grew up in the tech boom, but never thought an actual math game could be fun. Furthermore, whenever I found myself diddling with a calculator in real life, it was usually to make childish jokes instead of doing actual math. Deciding that I was judging the game a bit too harshly, I downloaded it and dove into some mathematics. Is Calculator: The Game a problem worth solving, or a messy equation?
Calculator: The Game is easy to play regardless of your gaming skill or mathematical prowess. Resembling a basic retro calculator, the game starts up with a cute chip tune and introduces you to Clicky. Clicky is a cute smiley face that always occupies the top left portion of the calculator display, and adds a bit of life into the experience. Additionally, Clicky makes learning Calculator: The Game easy by serving as a guide.
While the game's puzzles do completely revolve around math, solving the puzzles themselves don't feel like work. It's a simple enough premise; you have a goal number you're trying to reach and a certain number of moves to achieve it. Each level gives you a different goal number and an equally different collection of buttons to accomplish it. For instance, a recent level I played had an objective of 9, and I had 4 moves to make it happen. You always start at 0, and use the allotted buttons to add, subtract, divide, and more.
New buttons get introduced as you complete levels, ensuring you'll never feel overwhelmed. Some buttons do things other than standard mathematics, some removing specific numbers, adding specific numbers, or generally performing unique functions. In the aforementioned puzzle with an objective of 9, I had the option to add 2, divide by 3, and place a 1 on the end of my number. It might sound a bit complicated, but what this means is you won't have to worry about utilizing a full calculator.
Calculator: The Game is good as both a fun distraction and a good educational tool. I've never been very good at mathematics, but thinking of numbers in this unique way definitely made me feel smart. You have a daily hint that will help you through a pickle, and you're allotted 3 free hints at the start of the game. However, additional hints (excluding the daily hint) cost some cash, and I would never see myself spending a full dollar on 3 hints.
Despite the micro transactions, Calculator: The Game does an excellent job of showcasing its ideas and feeling both educational and fun. If you're looking for a different kind of puzzle experience, definitely give Calculator: The Game a go.
Reviewed by Matt