2048 Android players have been clamoring for an official app from its creator, Gabriele Cirulli, ever since the game was released in March. Their desires were sated this week as Cirulli released mobile versions of his hit game for both iPhone and Android. The 2048 Android app is particularly timely, as players have been complaining of a rash of malware among 2048 clones already on the Google Play Store.
Cirulli’s move may come as a surprise to many, especially those who have closely followed 2048’s journey. After all, Cirulli first said that he would never release the game anywhere but GitHub, where he originally posted it. In a lengthy blog post on his site, Cirulli explained the process behind his change of heart. Cirulli has always been upfront about the games which inspired 2048, including 1024 and Threes. Cirulli says at first, 2048 was only an experiment in design:
I wanted to create my own version with a different visual style and quicker animations, just to see if I could….While building 2048, I decided that I should just put it on GitHub and be done with it. I didn’t feel good about keeping it private, since it was heavily based off of someone else’s work. Once I was done with the game, I published it on GitHub Pages and posted it on Designer News, simply interested in getting feedback over the visuals.
But when 2048 became a casual gaming sensation, Cirulli began to wonder if he was missing out on the chance of a lifetime. Eventually, he decided that there was no way to deny 2048 Android and iOS fans. He spent the next month working on his own app. Cirulli reasoned that since his contributions to 2048 were aesthetic, he had better make the 2048 Android and iOS versions as sleek as possible. From early reports, his execution on this has been hit-and-miss. The new timed mode adds nuance to the simplistic gameplay. However, the 2048 Android animations feel laggy and hinder the fast-paced action many players crave.
But even an imperfect app is better than a malicious one. Cirulli mentions in his blog post that he was “incredibly happy” playing “derivative versions” of 2048 that cropped up in the App Stores. We can assume he didn’t enjoy playing the versions that contained a Trojan Horse virus. PC Mag’s Security Watch reported on a number of security breaches caused by a 2048 Android app that came loaded with malware. The presence of an official mobile game should curb downloads of these predatory apps, at the least.