In a career spent writing about games, you come across plenty of bad games. Most of them are badly executed, tasteless, or defective in some particular. Some are actually bad in concept (as in: who on Earth thought this was an entertaining idea for a game?), but those are fairly rare.
Numix is my new baseline for “What were you thinking?” games. Let me describe the gameplay in Numix, and see if you can find the entertaining part.
At the center of the screen is a graphic that mystifies me. It looks kind of like melted chocolate gum. My wife thinks they’re supposed to be stylized mathematical symbols: plus, minus, equal, and approximately equal. That’s as good a guess as any, although I’m not sure why the symbols are lodged in the middle of the screen like the wreckage of a surrealist parade float built by the MIT mathematics deparment after a wild night of psilocybin mushrooms. Oddly enough, figuring out what they were supposed to be occupied me longer and was more entertaining than the game itself. WIN!
Here’s the game: numbers appear in a line at the rate of about 1 every 2 seconds. A box in the middle of the screen displays a single digit number that you can adjust upward or downward by pressing an up or down arrow. When the number in the box matches the first number in the line, you press the “hit” button to make that number disappear. Then you …. do it again. And again… And again… If the line fills up, you lose.
That’s it. That’s all you do. I’ve had more fun picking ticks off my dog. Hell, at least the dog is kinda grateful afterwards, and if there’s a campfire nearby you get the pleasure flicking the tick into the flames and hearing it pop. Man, that never gets old.
Numix, on the other hand, got old in about 20 seconds, which is how long it took the number line to fill up. Even the icon is ugly. It looks like a maggot puking up a dandelion.