MetaSquares, developed for the iPhone/iPod touch by MetaTools, Inc., is one of those games with such a devilishly simple concept that you can only think to yourself, “how much fun could this possibly be?” Then minutes become hours and eventually the reality sets in — you’re hooked.
Originally designed for AOL back in the days of dial-up modems, the idea is that you alternate with the computer, placing one bead at a time, to form the four corners of a square. They can be formed at any angle and once successfully completed, you get points depending on its size. Whoever reaches 150 points with at least a 15 point lead first wins the round. Simple enough. However, with each round, the computer gets a little bit smarter and a little more competitive. Like any other strategy game, you’ll find that you have to think one or two, even three steps ahead of the computer if you want to keep winning. In the words of the game’s original designer, Scott Kim, “[MetaSquares] is easy to learn, challenging to master, and beautiful to watch.”
While the game is still available as a web app, it is more than worth the $2.99 price tag in the App Store. With a native touch device version comes, of course, better responsiveness, a bit more bling in the graphics with your choice of five themes, sound effects, and a Quick Play mode that turns off anything superfluous so you can get right into the game. There is also a two-player mode that lets you and a challenger take turns. All in all, MetaSquares stands out as one of better games available.