Okay, so maybe the name of the game (“Ten Million”) isn’t exactly the most memorable name for a game, but don’t let its name fool you: 10000000 is a pretty slick match-3 puzzler for your iOS devices and folks who are into games like Puzzle Quest should be excited.
Along with the somewhat silly name comes a somewhat non-existent plot. You apparently are a prisoner in a dungeon. To free yourself, you must score 10000000 points during a single run through a monster infested hallway, by leveling up and clearing objectives along the way. That’s it. As I said, not much story, but the game makes up for its lack of story with its pretty addictive gameplay.
Sword and Shield Swipe
Let me see if I can break down the gameplay. You start out each morning, hopping out of bed, and wandering down to the dungeon to see how far you can make it. Once you select which difficulty hall you want to tackle, with the harder difficulties being worth more loot, you click start, and you start running. The game is then replaced with a giant map of tiles filled with swords, shields, wands, treasure chests and the like, and your character starts running from left to right. As you run right, you run into creatures to fight, and to fight them, you match sword with sword and wand with wand to create chains of three or more. The more you chain together, the more damage you do. As you chain these combos together, the monster is fighting back at intervals and damaging you, pushing you left. On top of that, there is an invisible timer that is ticking down and moving you left. If you take too much damage or let time get ahead of you too much, you get pushed all the way to the left and the run stops. Your total score gets tallied up, you gain experience, gold, wood and stone, and are sent back to your bunk to try it again the next day.
When you get back to the dungeon from your failed attempt, you then use the materials gathered in the run to level up your character in a variety of ways, such as building stronger weapons and armor or learning skills at the trainer. And then you try it again. And again. And again. Each time, you run the dungeon, trying to beat your previous score, and failing to reach ten million points to gain your freedom. And each time you fail, you think to yourself, “Hey, that was a pretty good run, I bet I can do it again better next time.”
Just One More Run
Dungeon runs take between a minute or two at best, which means 10000000 lends itself to great pick-up-and-play sessions if you’ve only got a few minutes to burn. Every run through a dungeon adds to your total gold and materials, meaning you’re incrementally getting stronger each time you run a certain hall. It is terribly addictive, and devilishly so.
The music and graphics for the game are all done in a heartbreakingly cute retro 8-bit fashion, reminding me of something I might have seen on a Commodore 64 growing up. Yet, somehow, despite the simple graphics, there were times when my fat finger would try to pick a column to move around and it wasn’t immediately detected; I would have to jab at the row I was trying to manipulate another time or two before it would figure out where I was aiming. If this were Puzzle Quest, that would be fine, but as the key to the game is to be as fast as humanely possible matching tiles, this got a little irksome in the middle of a solid run. Obviously, playing this game on the iPad is probably the way to go as the tiles are very small on an iPhone, but as I’ve beaten the game on my iPhone, it is most certainly do-able.
Another nice thing about the game’s retro feel is that, unlike games like Mass Effect: Infiltrator or Infinity Blade 2, this game won’t take up half your device’s hard drive just sitting there. Obviously as a graphically non-intensive game, it’s a small little package you can keep on your device until you make your 10000000 run.
After you’ve beaten the game, you unlock the gate to your cage and win your freedom, also unlocking “Endless Mode”, but outside of high score jockeying, there’s no real point to do so. There is no GameCenter support, which means no achievements or leaderboards to make this mode that viable. You beat the game, you’re pretty much done. However, you’re going to be playing the game for a pretty decent amount of time before you crack that 10000000 score to win your freedom. I’d say this is a solid 8-10 hours of building up your character before you have what it takes equipment and level wise to tackle that final heroic dungeon.
The game is $1.99 on iTunes right now, and for the amount of time I sunk into the game, it was well worth the money. Even a little higher and the game would still be a solid recommendation. Take 10000000 on a long plane trip or a weekend with the in-laws (which is where I found myself hiding in the bathroom to steal play sessions of the game), and you won’t be disappointed.