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Review: 10000000

Steam indie iOS PC puzzle RPG 10000000

Developer: EightyEightGames
Publisher: EightyEightGames
Platform: PC (Steam), iOS
Release Date: January 15, 2013
ESRB: N/A (E recommended)



There is something inherently addictive about “match three” puzzle games. There’s a reason why Puyo Puyo, Bubble Bobble, and Dr. Mario have persisted over the years as endearing games. Of course, modern companies still pump out these types of puzzlers and there is a fanbase waiting to gobble them all up. Is there really any way to innovate? It seems so, as EightyEightGames shows with 10000000.

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Let’s explain what exactly the naming is about first. 10000000, or ten million, is a score that you work to obtain from the very start. It is plastered to the dungeon in which your character resides and taunts him. Once you reach those ten million points in one level, then you will be free. Of course, that’s no easy task as you’ll soon realize. Initial runs tend to result in a very paltry number of points, nothing near the millions or even far into thousands. Thankfully, the gameplay is addictive enough to make the goal something to strive for.

The majority of the game is played on the puzzle screen where you slide blocks around to match them. As is usual for these games, you can only complete a row if you match at least three (although you can match more together as well). What separates this game from more pure puzzlers is that block-matching is not just an exercise in tedium. Each block also has a graphic on it such as a sword, wand, wood, or backpack. Things get interesting as you come to grips with 10000000’s interesting matching mechanics.

At the top of the screen is your character, who is traversing the dungeon from a 2D view; he will come across treasure chests, locked doors, and a great deal of enemies. It turns out that this title has adopted aspects of RPG gameplay. For example, when you match swords in the puzzle interface, your character will attack. If you match keys, then those will unlock treasure chests or doors that you’re next to. Although you can just focus on the puzzle screen and match aimlessly, play works best if you keep an eye on your adventurer. By doing so, you’re able to focus on matching the right titles for the situation he finds himself in.

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Initially, this is incredibly hard to do. For one, gamers are trained to focus when playing these types of puzzle games. To look up at the top screen just doesn’t feel right for the first multitude of matches. Only after losing without even putting a minute into gameplay does it seem that rigidity loosens up. Once over that hump, players can finally start to efficiently match blocks and learn new strategies as well. Saving blocks to string together massive combos or sacrificing some matches for better blocks quickly seep into your mind after engaging in a handful of rounds.

Outside of the puzzle screen is another layer of the RPG experience. In the main screen there are stores which you can buy upgrades to weapons, armor, and the like. Each store takes its own payment as well, which is a bit odd. For example, there is gold, experience, and wood/bricks. Wood and bricks are appropriately used to build and upgrade stores and are gathered when matching blocks in puzzle mode. Experience and gold are both gained through play as well, although some stores ask for one while others want the other. It’s a bit odd but as long as you’re stocked up with everything it isn’t bad. Using the stores is integral to getting higher scores. Although you can be a matching machine, stores will allow your character to weather stronger enemies who come later in the dungeon.

Stores aren’t all opened at the start, though. They require the player to be a certain ranking before being allowed to step foot inside. These rankings are another neat feature of the game that help keep it addictive. The only way to gain levels is to beat the objectives that are handed out by 10000000. There are three at a time and ask for things such as collecting a certain amount of wood or killing a certain amount of monsters. Some are much tougher than others, but all are attainable with perseverance.

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One annoying aspect of the game is what happens when matches occur. Sometimes, you’ll make a match and then others will cascade down too. It’s incredibly lucky, but the game does not stop because of them. So while you may be grabbing loads of wood and stones or keys, the adventurer may be getting sliced away by an enemy. As long as matches are being made you are unable to position new blocks and it becomes the game’s one big sore spot.

Then there is the fact that it feels very much unfair until you have leveled up some, thanks to the store. The top screen is always progressing right, which means you have little time to dilly dally. That, combined with some stress of looking for the right match means a lot of quick deaths. It would be nice if there could have been unlocks to slow the progression available near the start.

Match three games are fun enough without any additional features to think about. The way 10000000 managed to mesh simple RPG mechanics with the game, though, is admirable and works very well. Grinding for experience and then cashing it in for stronger weaponry is fun as is helping your character along in the dungeon. Anyone who enjoys puzzle games and wouldn’t mind a more creative one should take a stroll through 10000000’s dungeon.

 

Pros:

+ Fun melding of puzzle and RPG mechanics
+ Tons of upgrades
+ Challenge system gives players special goals to attempt

Cons:

- Why are there so many forms of currency?
- Can’t position blocks as long as one block is being matched or moving
- Game is tough for a while until you upgrade your items


 

Overall Score: 7 (out of 10)
Good


10000000 does a good job of making a simple puzzle game into something more complex.




2 Comments

I may have to give this one a try. :D
I shouldn't have read this review. :( I want this now, lol.

Great review, though. :)

 

 

 

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