Each week Yahoo Tech’s Alyssa Bereznak will review the No. 1 free app in the App Store. This week she investigates 100 Balls, your new favorite time-waster.
The most addictive smartphone games are about simple satisfaction. In Candy Crush, walls of sugar crumble at your touch. In Threes, numbers join together seamlessly to make bigger numbers. And in 100 Balls — a new game for the iPhone — the simple tap of a finger fills transparent cups up with pingpong balls.
The game, created by Lithuanian app developer Giedrius Talzunas, consists of a funnel filled with 100 yellow spheres and a conveyor belt of transparent cups (not unlike the scene at your typical frat party). As the cups on the conveyor belt move below the funnel spout, you must release them by tapping on the screen. Each basic ball counts as a point. The goal of the game is to fill up each cup with as many balls as possible without losing any in the process.
Every time the cups you’re given make a full rotation on the conveyor belt, they spill the balls they collected back into the communal funnel. Once every cup has made it around the belt, you move on to the next level.
As you continue to advance, the conveyor belt speeds up and different colored cups are introduced. When you drop your yellow balls into these cups, their colors and values will change. For example, after a yellow ball that was once worth 1 point lands in a green cup, it becomes a green ball worth 2 points. The values of the balls increase as they change from green to blue to purple to red, and so on.
If you miss a cup, the balls that fly out will be lost from your collection forever. And if you fail to fill a cup with at least one ball each time it passes the spout, that cup will immediately fall off the conveyor belt and out of your rotation for good. In other words, your mistakes last forever.
The real fun here, as you can probably imagine, is perfecting your tap so that your ball release isn’t too early, too late, too long, or too short. In many ways, the skill is reminiscent of the same mechanism that made Flappy Bird so truly frustrating and impossible to quit.
According to Talzunas, the game was inspired by a combination of others he’d developed in the past, none of which really gained a wide audience.
“None of those were as successful as this one,” his translator told Yahoo Tech. “This time Giedrius tried to create something minimalistic, something that can be operated using one hand while traveling, and something that can be interrupted at any point without a need to continue.”
Within the past two weeks, the app has been downloaded more than 5 million times, from countries like the United States, the United Kingdom, Mexico, France, Germany, and Ireland. Talzunas, who went bankrupt in the real estate business before learning to code, says he’s not yet willing to disclose how much profit he’s made from it.
While we wait with bated breath, let’s all play another round, shall we? I have a feeling that if I try hard, believe in myself, and ignore my editor’s emails, I can break 1,000 points by the end of the day.