2048 is played on a simple 44 grid with numbered tiles that slide when moved with the four arrow keys. Every turn, a new tile with a value of 2 or 4 arises at random in an empty position on the board. Tiles slide as far as they can in the chosen direction until they are stopped by another tile or the grid's edge. When two tiles with the same number clash while traveling, they merge into a tile with the sum of the two tiles that collided. In the same move, the resulting tile cannot merge with another tile again. Higher-scoring tiles illuminate softly; the greatest potential tile score is 131,072.
Only the two tiles furthest along the direction of motion will merge if a move causes three consecutive tiles of the same value to glide together. If all four spaces in a row or column are filled with the same value tile, a move parallel to that row or column will merge the first two and last two. The user's score is displayed on a scoreboard in the upper right corner. The user's score starts at zero and is enhanced by the value of the new tile if two tiles join.