It always surprises me when a developer decides to do something totally outside the box. That's the case with Vito Technology, the company that develops such great educational and science-oriented apps as Star Walk, Dino Walk, Solar Walk and more. It's taken a big jump to games (the most popular category on the App Store) with Next-Numbers (introductory price of US$0.99), a fun new game that will have you tapping your iPhone or iPad screen with a smile on your face.
So, why will you be tapping like a fiend? The idea behind Next-Numbers is that you tap numbers in sequence in one of two ways. First, there's the Blitz mode, where you tap through numbers until a pre-set time is up. The second mode is called Zen, where you are timed while tapping a pre-set group of numbers. Those numbers are randomly displayed in a number of geometric shapes, big and small, that appear on the screen.
The app and its icon are designed for iOS 7 -- in fact, the icon features a large, colorful "7" in the center. The screen is always bright white -- if I had one wish, it's that Next-Numbers had a "dark mode" for playing in low-light conditions.
The app shows up in portrait mode on iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and that's where you'll choose your difficulty settings, the game mode and more. Tipping your iOS device to landscape mode simply rotates the numbers in the game. Next-Numbers uses Game Center to let you see how you stack up to friends or the world in general, and there's also a progress bar that displays your progress in concentration, speed of reaction and visual memory.
When you feel that you've mastered the easy level, just slide up the controls from the bottom of the screen and select medium, hard or expert levels for an extra challenge. I found the easy level to be a cinch to master, at which time I bumped myself up to the medium level that adds more numbers. Suddenly, my ability to find numbers went from really fast to "OMG, am I this stupid?" Continued use of the game seemed to train my brain to find and remember where the numbers were so I could be faster in the next round.
It's not just playing against the clock; it's brain training. Sure, it's brain training for a really odd set of circumstances -- recognizing numbers randomly placed on a screen -- but I've got to believe that playing games like Next-Numbers or word games have to be good for the old gray matter.
Who's Next-Numbers targeted towards? Those folks like myself who aren't into RPGs or side-scrollers, but instead love a good brain-teaser. I think that people who are fans of Luminosity will find Next-Numbers to be a winner. I look forward to seeing what's next from Vito Technology -- perhaps it can leverage its newfound game expertise, mix it with a little bit of the brilliance it has shown with Star Walk and really come out with something incredible.