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Monday, January 28, 2013

Review: 10000000

Developer: Eighty-Eight Games

If you make a list of games currently available on Steam, you can probably put 10000000 near the top of that list.

That's not primarily due to its quality, although it's a good game. It's mostly due to alphabetization.

/rimshot

Seriously, though, 10000000 is pretty good. Imagine if you combined a fast-paced game of Bejeweled with a free-running game like Temple Run, toss in resource-gathering and combat along with some RPG-lite elements. Whip it in a blender and serve chilled, and that's 10000000.

In 10000000, you're trapped in a castle, and you won't be able to leave until you score 10,000,000 points. In order to score points, you have to run through a dungeon, stopping periodically to open treasure chests, fight monsters and unlock doors. The longer you survive in the dungeons, the more points you gather. This is all handled with a gem-matching game in the vein of Bejeweled, and different jewels cause different things to happen. For example, sword jewels use physical attacks, wand jewels use magic attacks, and key jewels can open up treasure chests. If you're in front of a treasure chest, no amount of sword jewels will open that chest, just key jewels.

Meanwhile, you can upgrade rooms in your castle from the wood and stone you collect in the dungeon. Those rooms unlock upgrades which enable you to improve your attack strength, defenses, magic strength and other bonuses, which mean that you can run through the dungeons longer, rack up more points and resources, and on and on until you reach 10,000,000 points.

I like free-running games like Jetpack Joyride, Temple Run and Canabalt, but they never feel very deep to me. Since there's no definitive goal, you just keep playing until you get bored or unlock everything you wanted to unlock. I like puzzle games, but after a while, you're just trying to top your high score. Once again, there's no definitive goal, so you just keep playing until you get tired of it. Combining the two, then placing a definitive goal in front of the player is a stroke of genius.

10000000 has a few flaws, though. The sound and music don't quite work. The music is trying to affect a retro vibe, and it doesn't pull it off with the skill of, say, VVVVVV. The sounds can be a little confusing too. There's a noise that you hear when you match up wood and stone jewels that sounds like it should be for an attack instead. Even after several hours of playtime, I'm still not used to it.

I also wish there was a little more meat to the game, too. For example, you're upgrading rooms in the castle, but I wish there was more to do with it, like another strategy dimension. Imagine if the castle was under attack, and you could use your wood and stone to repair the castle and improve its defenses, expand the size of it, and other crazy stuff like that. That would be pretty awesome, but I guess you can't have everything.

10000000 is a great, great game, though. I was playing it one night and looked at the clock. It was about 10pm, so I decided to just do one more run through the dungeon. My "one more run" had turned into "50 more runs," and when I looked at the clock again it was 11:30pm. It's a lot of fun, and well worth its low cost.

Final Grade: A-