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Yuji Naka showing off his solo-developer skills | Image: @nakayuji via Twitter

Yuji Naka — former head of Sonic Team — released a new game under his one-man studio Prope called Shot2048. Naka was the lead programmer for the original Sonic the Hedgehog (which seems to be playable everywhere nowadays) and most recently left his short stay at Square Enix to spend his time working on this hyper-casual title for mobile.

The goal in Shot2048 (App Store, Google Play) is to roll dice to the end of an alley and combine (multiply) enough like-numbers to create at least one die valued at 2048. It did take me about five attempts to win my first game… and about four tries to understand the game. There aren’t much in terms of instructions other than this iOS App Store description (though admittedly, after reading it again post-play, it makes sense now):

The purpose is to shot the same number and make 2048.
The purpose is to shot the same number to make 2048, but aim for more.
Tap to move the number left or right, and release your finger to fire the number.
If you hit the same number, they will be combined and the numbers will be added.
The game is over when the numbers stop in the red game over area in the foreground.

I created a hyper-casual game called [#SHOT2048]. This is the first time in my 37 years as a game creator that I, Yuji Naka, have made a game all by myself. I would appreciate it if you could play it and spread the word. Thank you very much. https://t.co/vuWmoxO0sj pic.twitter.com/LNwQDORXJO

— Yuji Naka / 中 裕司 (@nakayuji) December 18, 2021

It’s a neat idea for a quick time-pass and doesn’t actually require much in terms of math skill since you only really need to match colors and keep the dice out of the shooting zone. The stage gets a bit more challenging as too many dice fill up the play zone; should the dice stay in the shooting zone for too long — about five seconds — the game will be over. The physics can get kinda wonky, but you’ll need to count on some toppling to get the dice in the back to combine.

Screenshots by Umar Shakir / The Verge
I won once in Shot2048, might be worth playing again but definitely not with the pay-to-win transactions. On the right is a very similar game called Chain Cube.

Naka’s game takes clear inspiration from other popular mobile puzzlers like, uh, 2048 (which has its own history of cloning) or another similar title we noticed called Chain Cube.

The free-to-play game is ad-heavy but will let you remove the ads for $5.99. Also, if you’re having a tough time winning, the game will gladly take $0.99 to give you five more tries. I was also requested by the app to track me, which I declined (though, as recently reported, it’s not always a full off switch).

Naka built the game on Unity and says this is the first game he developed alone, touting his 37-year career in the video game industry. The inaugural Prope team (2006) consisted of Naka and 10 former Sega employees targeting the casual waggle gaming boom, starting with Let’s Tap for the Wii. Without a team, Naka needed some help getting leaderboards to work for Shot2048 — so he asked for (and received) help on Twitter.

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