How I Beat the World High Score in Dots (hint: I cheated)
Nothing unlocks your inner hacker like some friendly competition between friends. So when friend Brian Balfour threw down a Dots gauntlet with a high score of 479 I knew I had to end him. And not just him, but I wanted to shame ALL Dots competitors.
The first obvious strategy for dots is to only focus your efforts on forming squares, which eliminate all dots of the same color from the board, and tend to form new squares. That combined with smart use of the shrinker power-up puts you in a good place to strike around 350 to 400 consistently. (Yes, you’ll most definitely have to purchase dots to be competitive)
The next step is to ruthlessly restart games until the starting board presents a good square or two, and then coldly abandon games where lady-luck doesn’t keep the chains flowing. When lady-luck runs out in an otherwise excellent game, that’s when you deploy your ‘expander’ power-up. Finally, executing your games carefully is also immensely easier on an iPad. Now you can approach 500, but with considerable time investment.
So how was I able to score 928?
Simple, I cheated.
As it turns out, pausing and un-pausing (by pressing the timer in the upper left) the game doesn’t effect the clock properly. In fact, you’re given ‘free time’ to examine the state of the board while it slides in and out. With epilepsy-inducing rapid fire of pause/un-pause, you remove all time spent thinking from counting against the clock, and only your deliberate hand motions to execute your choices count against you.
However, before you get your hopes of public glory too high, the smart folks at Betaworks (owner of Dots) recently (& thankfully!) became aware of this cheat and are now filtering out scores server-side that were achieved this way - expect more changes to the leader-board. (And what a shame, my mother would have been so proud)
Still, you can tweet & text your outsized score directly to friends if you’re looking to upset them into pursuing some sisyphean pursuit.
Thanks, and until next ‘hack’.