You’ve heard the old adage “sometimes less is more,” right? Well, the folks at Empty Stage have really taken that maxim to heart with their new speed puzzler, Make It Less (out now, free). This is a game that goes out of its way to eschew extraneous features and complex mechanics in favor of being as straightforward, intuitive and fun to play as possible.

Don’t let all the numbers in the screenshots put you off; Make It Less isn’t some kind of complicated math-based mind-bender that requires a ton of brainpower to figure out. In fact, all you really need to be able to do to play the game is tap the screen fast. Each against-the-clock round presents you with a jumble of differently numbered tiles, and your goal is to match and merge as many blocks of four as possible before the time runs out.

Tapping on a tile halves its number, so what you need to do is quickly pound away at the higher-numbered ones, until they match up with those adjacent to them. When a group of four tiles all display the same number they merge into one. But if the clock runs out before you’ve managed to make enough matches, all the tiles split and the game ends. It’s not the deepest, but Make It Less is still a whole lot of fast-paced, addictive fun.

In keeping with its overall minimalist style, Make It Less isn’t plastered with obnoxious ads or riddled with pushy IAP prompts. You will have to contend with the occasional video ad and a subtle banner at the bottom of the menu screen, but if these bug you they can be removed permanently for a small, one-off upgrade fee ($0.99).

Verdict

Seemingly inspired by the adage “less is more,” Make It Less is a speed puzzler with a beautifully stripped-back design aesthetic and ultra-minimalist gameplay. Some will likely find it a little slight and simplistic for their tastes, but it’s well worth trying for the price of free.

Positives
Gameplay is highly intuitive, fast-paced and fun
Simple one-touch controls
Nicely designed with bright, vibrant visuals
Negatives
It might be a little too simplistic for some player's tastes
3.5
Very Good
Download on the App Store