The ‘2048’ app is all about the power of 2!

First impressions 

Mathematics. Some people loathe it and some people love it. It’s one of those polarizing subjects that has a love-hate relationship with the world, and it’s completely unavoidable because it’s a part of our everyday life. From balancing our accounts to working out what tip to leave at the end of a night (a time when our percentage skills are usually at their lowest ebb), we need at least basic knowledge so that we don’t find ourselves penniless at the age of 40. 

The 2048 app will not help you become an accountant, but it does require a smidgen of mathematical skill. It’s become quite popular in the App Store, which isn’t a surprise, as Sudoku certainly swept the world – and that’s all numbers. Personally, I have always been a fan of math, so I was happy to give this app a try. It seemed to be relatively simple, and it was free – two of my top criteria. Apparently, all I had to do was add multiples of 2 until I got a 2048 tile, otherwise known as “2 to the power of 11.” 

Yep, I am a RIOT in bar conversations. 

How it works 

If I’d been asked to explain this app a few days ago, I would have used a lot of random terminology and then excused myself to the bathroom. The truth is, I didn’t immediately get how it worked in the beginning. I understood the concept, but numbers weren’t adding as I wanted them to. There was one diagram of explanation, and then straight into the thick of it. 

After trying it numerous times, I now get it. 

You are presented with a grid of 4 x 4 tiles, and begin with two numbers in random squares. These are usually a combination of 2’s and 4’s. You have to move like numbers next to each other to create their sum, thus removing one tile from the grid and upping the value of one of your tiles. For example, swipe a 2 and a 2 together, and you’ll get a 4 tile. Swipe a 4 and a 4 together, and you’ll get an 8, and so on. As you remove tiles, trying to head towards the magic 2048 number, more 2’s and 4’s will appear, which are useful in one way, as you can keep adding them to create a matching number for your highest value to significantly increase it; however, on the other hand, they begin to crowd your grid a bit, and if you’re not careful, you’ll end the game by reaching a full grid with nothing more to add. 

As you add tiles, you’ll see your score at the top of the page increase by the amount you’ve added, along with a leaderboard displaying the highest score you’ve attained. Every time you reach a new highest value tile, say 128 or 256 or 512, and so on, a little pop-up will inform you of your progress. 

There aren’t any in-app purchases to concern yourself with, nor is there a timer when you play. Your sole goal is to get to that 2048 tile, and after playing a few times, you’ll see that it’s not as easy as it seems. Moving the tiles around will help you get like numbers next to each other, but you’ll also get additional tiles popping up and cramming your space, so be careful what moves you make. 

One of the most important things to remember is that you can only add like numbers. No matter how much you try to swipe a 2 and a 4 together, they won’t add for you. 

When I played 

As I mentioned earlier, I wasn’t exactly on fire when it came to grasping how this game worked. I saw the brief instruction – something about swiping numbers towards the wall – and then when left to my own devices, I tried to get 8’s and 4’s together with no success whatsoever. It was only when I attempted it the second time that I realized what I was doing wrong, and even still, numbers weren’t always going where I wanted them to. With perseverance, however, I quickly improved, and I can now boast getting to the total of 512 thus far, only two away from the supreme goal. I find it very easy to get to 128 in every game, but 512 has only been achieved twice, and there has certainly been no sniff of 1024 to date. 

It is very simple in its design, but I believe that this app is my new favorite. What happens after 2048 I have no idea, but it doesn’t look like I’m in danger of finding out anytime soon. 

Final thoughts 

If you’re a fan of mathematics and enjoy puzzles, this 2048 app will probably be right up your alley. If you’re not a fan, I wouldn’t even download it, lest you get frustrated and throw your iPad through the window. 

It’s a free app, you don’t have to spend any extra money buying 4’s or 1024’s as they’re not for sale, and you don’t run out of lives or time. Do the math. 


Free. Simple. No in-app purchases. No Internet connection required. 


Frustrating at times. Very little instruction. 


  • Cost: Free 
  • Seller: Ketchapp 
  • Devices: Android and iOS 
  • Rating: E for Everyone 
  • Three stars 

It’s a great app to download on your tablet or smartphone.

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