Tips & Strategies for Dots the Game

Dots is a crazy simple and addictive game for iOS and Android. It has been the cause of less reading on the train, missed subway stops and longer number 2’s if you know what I mean. And all of this for what? Nothing really. Hopefully a higher score? Yeah, it’s sad. Let’s get started.

Download the game

The first thing you’ll want to do is download the game. You can access the play store or app store through their website There are 3 modes. Timed mode which is a game against the clock of 60 seconds, Moves mode which is a game of 30 moves and a paid Endless mode. I’ll be talking more about the Timed mode. Because it’s the best.

Pick the color scheme right for you

This is probably the most important part in my opinion. The objective of the game is to make and connect 4 or more dots of the same color into squares. These squares whether they be set when the game starts, or you have to make them yourself, should be as easily recognizable as possible. Pick the color scheme that allows these squares to stick out most to you.

As of October 27, 2013, there was a dark galaxy theme added but I prefer to stick with the classic white background. Something about the contrast of the black dot on the white background breaks up the rest of the dots for me. Either way, find the scheme that’s best for you.

Look for common patterns

By drawing these circuits of similarly colored dots, you eliminate the remainder of dots in that color. That leaves a better chance of a square forming in another color. You’ll want to keep an eye out for potential falling squares when drawing your initial square and the color is removed from the board. By doing so, you’ll be able to draw squares in quick succession achieving a higher score.

Before you waste all your “money” using the power-ups, you should be able to recognize common dot patterns and get a score of at least 300 just playing straight through the 60 seconds. Below are some situations that always appear on the board.

The stair-like pattern represented by the pink dots in the outline show up all the time. You want to immediately look for one potential dot below the upper half of the stair pattern. In this case we could swipe the black dots to form a pink square. If you’re not drawing a square, the next best thing you could do is use one move to form a square. Preferably without using a power-up.

Sometimes that stair pattern might be sitting on an L-shaped pattern like the red dots in the outline. Swiping away the red dots would be your best move in this situation to setup a blue square.

This pattern seems like a no-brainer but it doesn’t always come so simple. Sometimes you’ll have to swipe two at the bottom to make a square at the top of the board. Most of the time you should be playing at the bottom of the board. The exception being two squares on the board. I’ve found that if there is a square at the top and bottom, I’ll draw the square up top first because the bottom one will most likely still be there.

This pattern to the left is similar to the first picture except for the fact that we clearly cannot swipe away anything below to cause the yellow square to form. This is a really common pattern in about every game that will introduce us into the power up section. Specifically the shrinker. If you don’t have anything to swipe and cause the square to form, double tapping the highlighted pink square will shrink it. I catch myself shrinking dots all the time when I probably could have swiped but there really is no time to think when you’re trying to beat your high score.

Use the power-ups

The power-ups located at the bottom of the board are from left to right, the Time Stop, Shrinker, and Expander. Per 5, they “cost” 1000, 500, and 5000 dots respectively. Fortunately you’ll probably find shrinkers will be your best friend.

The Time Stop does what you think it does. It stops the clock from counting down for 5 seconds essentially giving you 65 seconds in a single game. To activate it you just tap on it.

The Shrinker allows you to trash any single dot on the board. You can use the Shrinker by tapping on the icon at the bottom and then tapping on any dot. Or you can be efficient and double tap any single dot you wish to get rid of. Since these only cost 500 per 5, you will probably be buying the most of these. I tend to use 5 to 10 of them on average per game.

The Expanders are the most expensive of the power-ups and you probably wont need to buy these very often. The expander allows you to tap any dot and trash all dots of that color. To activate just click the icon at the bottom, then tap on the desired color you wish to destroy. I could see this one being used in the second half of a game if you’ve been on a roll and suddenly all the dots seem to be too heterogenous.

My highest score at the moment is 732 so I will know during the first 5 seconds if I will reach close to that point or not. My general flow of using the power-ups goes as follows:

Try getting a bunch of consecutive squares right out of the gate (Duh) When making a square, look at the dots falling and trying to position yourself to make the next Use shrinkers as needed but only using one before creating a square Rinse and repeat Once the clock gets down to around 5 seconds, if I’m close to my high score, use the Time Stop and make as many squares as possible If I’m close then I’ll use the expander on a color that seems to be the most prevalent right before the time goes out These steps seem to be working for me so far. I don’t use the more expensive power-ups unless I’m actually close to my high score so it allows me to earn more dots for my bank to use later.


  • Pick the color scheme that allows you to best see the difference in colors
  • If you’re not making squares, it’s probably a bad move. Every move should be a square or a setup for a square
  • Play towards the bottom of the screen. Playing at the top doesn’t allow you to setup for anything
  • Look for the patterns and use shrinkers when needed for those patterns to turn to squares
  • There’s no need in using the Time Stop in the beginning of the game if you don’t know if it will be a high scoring game

I’ve also noticed that sometimes my fingers aren’t smooth enough to slide as fast as I need them to. It’s not something that I can really explain but this is usually the point where I stop playing and do something productive. What are your tips and strategies? Let me know below!