You may not have heard about the famous and simple 2048 number puzzle game before coming to this website. 2048, also known as 2048 Game, 2048 Online, 2048 Game Online, and Play 2048 is an easy-to-play number puzzle game. This simple but addictive number game was released in 2014, created by Gabriele Cirulli, who was only a 19-year-old at the time. Gabriele completed the game in a single weekend as a test to see if he could program his own game from scratch. His inspiration for the concept of 2048 game came from the game 1024 which was essentially a clone of the Threes game.
Two other games were clones of the iOS game Threes, which was released one month earlier, and 2048 was intended to be an improved version of them. He described 2048 as “conceptually similar” to Threes. The game generally received positive reviews from critics, described as “viral” and “addictive.” Similar games followed the release of 2048, just as Flappy Bird’s flood from 2013.
Playing the game
Four arrow keys are on the board to move the numbered tiles on 2048. Each turn a new tile is randomly placed in an empty spot on the board with a value of either 2 or 4. Tiles slide into the chosen direction until another tile or the grid edge stops them. Whenever two tiles of the same number collide while moving, they will merge into a tile with the value of the two collided tiles. It is impossible to combine the resulting tile with any other tile in the same move. Higher-scoring tiles emit a soft glow.
Only the two tiles farthest along the motion direction will combine if a move causes three consecutive tiles of the same value to slide together. If all four spaces in a row or column are filled with tiles of the same value, a move parallel to that row/column will combine the first two and last two tiles. Scores are kept on the upper-right scoreboard. A user’s score begins at zero but increases whenever two tiles combine by the value of the new tile.
In the game, a tile with a value of 2048 wins. Players may continue beyond this point for higher scores. After a player has exhausted all legal moves, the game ends.
Implementing a Strategy
The 2048 game is so easy to play, that you might get into the habit of tearing through quick games without even really paying attention to what you are doing. This is NOT a good idea. Take your time, work out your moves, there is no time penalty. Also, try to predict where new blocks might come in and differing possibilities on how to deploy them. Several 2048 game strategies are laid out below.
1. Combine Small Tiles
For most of the game, it’s much more important to make 8s, 16s, and 32s than to aim for a single larger number. As these mid-range tiles gather near your chosen corner tile, this will set you up for chain reactions of several combinations, which will get you much further than focusing on building one single tile higher by itself.
2. Maneuver Around Small, Trapped Tiles
Sometimes (or often), things won’t work out perfectly, and you may end up with a small numbered tile trapped between a 256 and a 64, or similarly inconvenient positions. This is a good time to STOP, think about each move and attempt to free that small numbered tile. There are a couple different strategies for this:
- Select a tile next to the trapped tile, and plan on how to combine it. For a larger numbered tile, try planning several moves ahead. Once you have set it up with an equal tile next to it, swipe so the tile you’ve been planning to combine is the one that moves.
- Also, you can create a gap in the row with the small, trapped tile, then shift left and right until you position it over a tile it can combine with, although this does not work well on a crowded board.
3. Move Corner Tile When Forced to, Then Return it Back
You will always come to a point where you’re forced to move your corner tile out of position. When this happens, plan to see which of the available moves will benefit you most. Swipe in that direction, then swipe back to return the high-value tile to the corner.
4. Possible Starting Strategy: Start Game by Swiping Left and Right Several Times
Start a new 2048 game and then swipe left and right rapidly. Continue until you have a couple rows of 2s, 4s, and 8s. This will usually put you in a good position and gets you your larger numbered tiles faster.
5. Possible Game Strategy: High Tile Number Buildup in a Corner
Combine the early tiles into a 16 or 32 and put it in a corner. Try to keep this tile in place for as long as you can, and slowly build it higher and higher. To stop the highest value tile from leaving the corner area, try to pack tiles around it, preferably other biggest tiles. If you can master this simple strategy, you may be able to reach the final 2048 tile to win the game!
Keep Playing and Apply These Strategies to Improve Your 2048 Scores
Don’t expect to win the first several times you play the 2048 game, as it typically takes an understanding of how the game works to win. Just apply some of the strategies described above, and keep playing while you improve your scores. You will eventually understand how the game works and you may be able to finally beat the game!
Since the source code is available, many improvements have been made to the original game, including a score leaderboard, undo functionality, and improved touchscreen playability.
In addition to spinoffs with elements from the Doge meme, Doctor Who, Flappy Bird, and Tetris, a 3D version has also been released, and versions with larger or smaller grids. A clone of the game was published by Ketchapp in 2014, and monetized by advertising. Additionally, there was a Doctor Who spinoff and a Nintendo 3DS version. Cirulli sees these spinoffs as “part of the beauty of open source software” and does not mind them “as long as they add new, creative modifications to the game.”
There have been several comparisons between 2048 and Flappy Bird. As a result of the games’ popularity and simplicity, numerous variants have been created, and both have been described as “viral” and “extremely addictive.”
During the April 2014 App Store release, Pocket Gamer reported that 15 new clones of Threes are being released daily. James Vincent of The Independent described 2048 as “a clone of a clone.” He said he had already “gone through the same phase” when asked if he was concerned that his situation would end up the same as Flappy Bird’s. Once he decided not to monetize 2048, Cirulli said he no longer felt awkward.
In response to rampant cloning, the creators of Threes published a log of how the game evolved over its 14-month development cycle. They said they had tried 2048’s tile merging variant, but dismissed it because it made the game too easy. In a 2014 Wired article, they claimed they had each beaten 2048 on their first play.
In addition to its mathematical nature, 2048 has attracted researchers interested in artificial intelligence. As of 2022, AI achieved over 95% (likely over 98%, but the measurement has noise) probability of making a 16384 tile, over 75% (likely over 80%) probability of making a 32768 tile, and over 3% probability of making a 65536 tile (improvement over the results in  and ). A 65536 tile will have a low probability of being made due to randomness and a lack of spare room; optimal solutions for constrained boards support this conclusion.
Enjoy Playing 2048!