Trios Lofi Beats/Numbers to Chill To – Mathematical Madness
With thanks to Samurai Punk, Player2’s own mathematical maestros Jess and Paul have been playing Trios, a supposedly calming maths game backed by lo-fi beats – the duo have made careers around their expertise with numbers, but has this new title done a numerical number on them? Join them in this discussion about Trios!
Paul: So Jess, I don’t know about you, but I feel it’s about time I walked away from Maths teaching. My confidence in my job has taken an almighty battering following my time with Trios. I sincerely hope you’re faring better than I am
Jess: I absolutely am not, Paul. I actively think my students should stop listening to me when I give them information because if my Trios skills are anything to go by, I am terrible at maths. I felt great when I started, but wow – things spun out of control very quickly. In theory, it should be straightforward – you know the game is giving you everything you need to work through each level. And yet, somehow it wasn’t enough for my brain. Where did it start to become unstuck for you?
Paul: So as you well know, at least at first, in the “Journey” mode, there are five worlds to explore, each with at least a couple of dozen of levels in them to complete. It starts off easily enough, and the first two worlds, Alpha and Beta, I mostly blitzed. Thankfully that is what I documented in our recent entry of P2 Plays, because once I hit Gamma things really took a turn. The concept itself is simple, you’ll be provided a host of single digit numbers, along with a few operations, and you need to combine them all together to create the target number. In Gamma, we’ve got all four operations, and negative numbers in the mix, and it’s that combination that is beginning to give me the sweats. I believe you’re in the same ballpark?
Jess: Gamma is definitely what started to get to me too. I liked the way it slowly introduced you to the mechanics, but for some reason once negative numbers were thrown into the fray, I think that’s what really got to me. When things start to get tough, you can utilise a hint and it’ll point you in the direction of the first combination you should make, but I find that if you’re really stuck one hint isn’t anywhere near enough. The fact that there’s no time pressure does stop it from becoming too frustrating though, and it’s easy to walk away from a problem if you need a break. You’ll definitely need to be a person who just enjoys doing math equations though, because that’s what this game is at its core. At least, that’s what I found. If I wasn’t someone who did equations regularly for work, I think I’d really struggle to get in the right headspace for this game.
Paul: I feel like if I weren’t a math teacher by profession, I’d be looking at this very much like one of the old LucasArts era Point-And-Clicks where the solutions would stem from a correct sequence of seemingly random player inputs. The hint function is great, but it is absolutely limited. I’d love to see the opportunity for two hints, one from the outset, and one other that you can use per level at whatever point you deem appropriate. That might be the right balancing point in my eyes. What about the “lofi beats”? These are part of the game’s name, and are an important pillar to the game, hopefully soothing any growing frustration. Did you like them, and do you feel they were effective?
Jess: I don’t know if they did a lot to soothe my frustrations, but they were nice to listen to! They made me feel like I was solving puzzles under water, which, while not necessarily soothing, did create a nice little pocket of the world to exist in while I frantically did sums. They added a solid atmospheric layer, and they certainly weren’t distracting. I’m not sure they created enough peace that I could be doing maths as my chill-time exercise before bed, though – especially not during those higher levels. I’m not sure anything could have pulled my brain out of that high-intensity equation-solving mode, but I feel like I want to praise them for not making the whole thing more stressful. How did you find them?
Paul: Absolutely digging the beats themselves, but you’re right, they just fade away as the tension builds with some of these levels. You’re right, the music doesn’t compound the frustration, but I’m not sure that it makes the situation any better either. Between levels, or if you encounter a level that just clicks in your head, they’re fantastic, but when (more often than not) you’re in the doldrums over a particular level, those beats just fade away. Any final thoughts?
Jess: I think Trios will appeal to people who find joy or respite in solving math equations, or who want a way to practice their mental arithmetic. If you already find maths fun, you’ll probably have a good time with Trios. If equations give you a headache, you’re definitely going to run into the same problem here. But I enjoyed it as a way to keep my mind sharp, and to get into the numbers mindset. I might go back to it in the future when I’m really looking for a challenge. How about you?
Paul: I think I need to find a new profession – this one is untenable now.