It isn’t that Ian Marsh’s Hanoi (Free) is the best free game we’ve yet seen for the iPhone and iPod touch, or that it is so deep and amazing that you’d think it’s worth paying for. It’s none of these things.
But as a very simple game with beautiful background artwork that can occupy your mind for a little while, Hanoi is one of those “worth downloading” demos that makes complete sense as a freebie. Then, if you really like what you see, a $1 version called Hanoi Plus is also available.
The concept is simple: there’s a stack of coins on a flat surface, and you need to transfer the stack piece by piece from the left to the right side of the screen, one coin at a time.
There are only three positions to place the coins in, left, center, and right, and with every success you have in achieving the transfer, the background changes and more coins are added to the stack. That’s it, however, every additional set of coins makes the solution—“how do you transfer nine coins from left to right in single steps? Okay, how about ten?”—more complicated.
Hanoi lets you play enough levels to understand what the game is about, and get a real challenge with seven coins; Plus has 10 levels, a timer, a move counter, and not just additional backgrounds, but actually different ones.