NOTE: As is the nature of mobile games, it is possible this game may undergo changes to its gameplay design, monetization model, or it may include limited time events. This is a review of the game’s state as of January 5th, 2018.
Progress to 100, sometimes simply referred to as Progress, is often billed as a great game for introducing new smart device owners to the unique features of their device, but I think that is a bit of a misrepresentation. Progress to 100’s gameplay does integrate the many features of iPhones and iPads in an excellent manner, but a basic knowledge of your device’s capabilities is certainly needed to play the game and the game itself is more about finding unique and interesting ways to play with the standard functions of most modern Apple devices than learning about them.
Progress to 100 has a huge focus on simplicity that is immediately apparent in the game’s basic presentation. Your goal is to, of course, make it to level 100, doing 100 different tasks along the way that turn a black screen white. The only thing that is usually on the screen beside the white or black colors is an instruction. Sometimes, these instructions can be as simple as asking you to tap the screen while others may present a single word that asks you to consider what the game might be requesting of you. For example, the game might say “on a horse”, and it is up to you to figure out what it wants you to do with only your device’s basic functions as a way of solving the small puzzle. This is the reason I feel that you need to know you device has certain functions like a gyroscope and multi-finger tapping, since not only does this game require the knowledge of simple things like that, it begins pushing even further into the kinds of actions you can take with a smart device. The fact that later levels will even integrate features outside of the game only further pushes this idea that it’s not a game about teaching you your smart device, but turning your iPhone or iPad into a toy with just its built-in functions.
However, besides a basic knowledge of your device’s capabilities, the only other thing you really need to know to enjoy this game to its fullest is, strangely, a pretty decent knowledge of winter sports. Some of the clues include instructions like “slalom” and “curling”, but there’s a pretty even balance between easy requests and the more difficult thinkers in this game. What really makes the game delightful though is when it starts to really get creative, usually with cute hints that will make you move your phone around in a silly yet enjoyable fashion. There are a few requests that might even jeopardize your device if you misinterpret them, so rest assured that the requests never require whatever kooky solution might run through your head that could break your phone or tablet. That’s not to say there aren’t kooky solutions, and it’s those very same kooky solutions that elevate this game beyond a simple phone-testing game. When I picked this game up, I sort of expected it to be the smart device toy box people pitched it as, and in a way, they aren’t wrong… it’s just that the toy box happened to include a lot of interesting and fun toys!
Sadly, despite asking pretty early on for permissions for your microphone and camera, those two are underutilized in the greater picture, but they still have some decent puzzles when they do crop up. As you progress to level 100, a few things pop up along the way to keep it from just being a simple sequence of puzzles. Many of the puzzles have audio cues to help you out or might even have sound as part of the puzzle, but soon a rather endearing and personable lady joins in with her voice, sometimes simply instructing you on what to do or reacting to your inputs, but eventually she’ll even have a brief chat with you before cropping up now and again later on for different puzzles. Near the end of the game things get a bit more complex and strange, but despite being harder as you inch towards that 100th level, only a few levels ever feel like they’d stump you for overly long, and without saying too much, the 100th level isn’t exactly the end either. You’ll notice the disclaimer at the start of this review after all, and the developer has even expressed in an interest in adding more to the game some day and is open to suggestions on what to add. The only real concern with this comes by way of the future of this game. Already there is a level that I am unsure if it is compatible with later iPhone models and it’s not unlikely some of the games could be sabotaged by future updates to iOS.
THE VERDICT: For such a simplistic game, it’s a bit hard to qualify the main appeal. Progress to 100 takes only about an hour or so to finish so long as nothing stumps you for too long, but it has minimal replay value as after you’ve figured out the puzzle of a level, it comes down to just doing the action again when you play it again later. However, Progress to 100 is about your first run figuring out all those hints and then doing whatever unusual or clever action the game might have requested of you… or the basic action that it’s making sure you know how to do it for later challenges. I think the best way to describe it all is to say it’s like a game full of riddles. Riddles are enjoyable to solve the first time as they test your ability to figure out the answer with minimal hints, but after you know the answer, unless you forget, the riddle can never be solved again. Progress to 100 has that same appeal, and it can certainly be fun to show to a friend or family member and watch them try to solve all the game’s levels. You might not want to play it in public though, partly due to its use of sound, but also because you’ll end up moving your device around a lot to beat the levels and it might be a tad embarrassing to be caught slow-dancing with your iPhone.
It may be short, the presentation simple, and the hints sometimes on the easy side, but each level feels fun even if it is basic or weird since they can be completed quickly so you can move onto the next interesting challenge.
And so, I give Progress to 100 on iOS…
A GREAT rating. The immediate worry I have in giving this game such a rating is that others may take it as an insult to any game that has received a Good or lower on the scale, but Progress to 100 isn’t necessarily better than them, it just does what it’s trying to do excellently. It tells you how many levels there are and makes them fun and sometimes funny as you play through them. The other worry is of course that by billing it highly I might hurt your enjoyment of it as it can’t live up to the praise, but I came into this skeptical after seeing high praise from others and still had a blast myself. Progress to 100 balances its simple presentation with a concept that makes it more like a board game or toy rather than your typical video game. It’s got a bit of whimsy to it despite the sterile visuals, but the visuals are only there as a function of opening up your smart device as a playground rather than just the technology you’re using to interact with the app.
If there’s one thing holding it back it’s that its ambition fell a bit sort. Most of the hints do involve tapping, swiping, or movement of your device, and the length does make it sad once you’ve finished level 100 and the extra content. More meat on these bones could make Progress to 100 even better, but it’s title including the end point also prepares you to not be disappointed by the length, only wanting more since it showed such promise.