A crazy number-crunching puzzle is the latest one to create a buzz among gaming addicts.

Though there are plenty of games for the average user to spend all their time on, a new sensation emerges, simply called 2048.

After Candy Crush Saga and Flappy Bird, this is all set to rock the world of addictive gaming, with its simple rules and tough-to-beat gameplay. It is inspired by an app ‘1024!’ as well as another web game with the name ‘2048’.

The game was developed by a nineteen-year-old programmer named Gabriele Cirulli, from Italy. The addictive nature of the game is due to the fact that it is a basic, easily understandable game, but extremely hard to win. This makes it both addictive, and frustrating – a key combination that has been used by other immensely successful games of this genre.

2048 was officially released on the web on the 9th of March, and its popularity ratings have been rising ever since, even if this happened within a short span of time. This incidentally coincides with the lessening hype of the erstwhile popular game, Flappy Bird.

The game presents its players with a grid containing 16 squares, and two of those have the number 2 in it. Players have to use the arrow keys to move the squares around and cause new ones to pop up. When two squares with the same number touch, they merge into a single square, and the number on that square is the added result of the two numbers on the earlier squares. The objective is to match enough up to total a score of 2048 before there’s no place left for new numbers. Hence, the goal would be to create a ‘2048’ tile!

Within three days of the game’s release, thousands of users have been trying to win it, with enormous amounts of time spent by each on the game.

According to Cirulli, people’s obsession with 2048 is justified. He said on Twitter, “Just realized I am also my own productivity’s worst nightmare.”

Adding that he has not been able to conquer the game despite attempts, he said that he did not even get a tile with 1024 on it, and he strongly doubts his ability to beat the game. This was an obviously ironic result for the game’s own developer.

The game is open source, and it is officially available to the public only through the web, or on the mobile site. Cirulli has not made an app for the game, unlike the other addictive games like Flappy Bird. He said the reason behind this was because he did not want to monetize 2048, and just wanted to focus on strengthening the open source link instead.

There are plenty of ‘clones’ or variants inspired by 2048, due to its open-source nature. These are available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. They include a play on the popular ‘Doge’ meme called doge2048. Other variants include a 3-D 2048, a ‘Tetris-2048’ combination, and even a ‘Flappy Bird’-themed 2048 game.