May 30, 2013 5:40 PM | Paul Hack
Four is a new abstract puzzle game that, like the classics of the genre, may melt your brain and can quickly lead you to hopeless addiction. Ali Shakiba, the author of Four, told us that he drew inspiration from the Russian puzzle classics Tetris and Color Lines, and he's succeeded in giving his game a classical, timeless feeling. Unlike Tetris, Four is turn-based, though it manages to maintain a sense of urgency. Like the falling blocks of Tetris, the spheres of Four keep coming, and sometimes you can't see a good use for one, so you're stuck just trying to find the least damaging place to put it.
The fundamental goal in the game is to connect four spheres of different colors in order to make them disappear. You draw connections between spheres by clicking and dragging your mouse (or tapping and dragging on a touch screen). If you are able to complete two or more "nodes" of four spheres with one connection, they will all disappear. Every time you make a move, a new sphere is added to the playing field. Aside from the normal spheres of different colors, you will encounter 3 special types: white wildcards that can be used as any color, jokers that change color each turn, and black bombs that can be used to eliminate stubborn chains that contain two or more spheres of the same color. There is a pretty excellent (and brief) tutorial to play through when you first start the game, and it should get you on your way to connecting spheres and removing nodes in no time.
It seems to me that Four may be endlessly replayable. Aside from the basic game mode (Collect), there are 2 others to play (Stream and Cross), and the game will automatically save your progress in each. If you want to start over and delete your progress, just click the name of the mode you're playing and you'll see a dialogue box asking if you want to reset your game.
Four is an HTML5 game, so you can play it in your browser. But remember that it can be habit-forming!