Nullum Review

Add and match numbered tiles in this numeric puzzle game, Nullum. Clear 40 levels of diverse difficulty in this minimalist game.

Format: PC via Steam
First playthrough time: 2 hours

Nullum. Level 4

Released May 8th, 2020 by Misc.261

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Quick Overview

Major Pros:
  • A simple yet challenging concept
Major Cons:
  • Difficulty varies wildly
Minor Pros:
  • Clean visuals and minimal UI
Minor Cons:
  • Could use some more level diversity
  • There’s a little math to it, which may deter some players
Nullum. Level 14, with a question mark on one of the tiles

Here players must first pick a number for the ‘?’ tile

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In-depth Review

Nullum is an abstract puzzle game about building up numbered tiles and eliminating matches. Tiles can be swiped into adjoining tiles in the four cardinal directions. If the numbers match, both tiles will be removed, otherwise, the target tile will remain and it’s number updated to be the sum of the two. For example, if 4 is swiped onto 3, the 4 tiles will be removed and the 3 tile will be updated to say 7. The goal of each level is to remove all tiles.

Nullum. Level select screen

There are 40 levels in total

Levels in Nullum vary in size and shape, weaving and reconnect, large single-mass, or a smattering of islands. One of the interesting variants is when levels don’t have all their pieces placed initially. Some tiles may be placed off to the side and there will be gaps in the puzzle to slot them into. The puzzle can’t be started until the tiles are added, but players will have to plan ahead or the puzzle will likely be unsolvable. This was one of the mechanics I really liked, but I felt it wasn’t explored fully. I’d have also liked to see more variants like this added to diversity the levels further.

Nullum. Level 32

Here 3 and 1 must first be placed into the marked spots

My biggest struggle with Nullum was the wildly varying difficulty. At one point I went from struggling on a puzzle and having to look up a hint to immediately finishing the next 2 puzzles in less than a minute each. While the tutorial-esque levels are easy enough and introduce the mechanics well, the bulk of the levels didn’t seem to follow any sort of difficulty curve. It’s likely a subjective challenge, you either see where to start or you don’t, but the unexpected nature of the difficulty distracted from the potentially relaxing puzzle atmosphere for me.

Nullum. Level 29

One of the levels I needed a hint for

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Recommendation

Overall, I found Nullum to be a very simple to understand numeric puzzle game. I liked the clean visuals and non-standard levels. However, I wish more had been done with diversifying the levels and organizing the levels into a difficulty curve. I recommend Nullum to players looking for a clean puzzle game that won’t shy away from a little math.

What math-based games do you enjoy?
Let me know in the comments below!

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Categories: Desktop games, Video game reviews

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