I am terrible at match-3 style games.  So, naturally, I love them and buy them every chance I get.  10,000,000 started out as a phone game, so you can give it a shot there if you’d prefer being able to play in spurts during travelling downtime (or in the bathroom, whatever).  It recently came out on Steam and is even having a premier sale, and it looked like the kind of thing I enjoy, so I picked it up for 3 dollars.  The ultimate goal of the game is to score 10,000,000 points in a single run, but it’s going to take quite a while to get there.

It is a match 3 game, but they didn’t go for the standard types of matching like in Bejeweled or Puzzle Quest or Tetris Attack.  In 10,000,000 you pick up and slide an entire row (it wraps across the screen so tiles that slide off the left reappear on the right), which almost makes the matching backwards from the patterns you may be used to.  I’ve played this style in other games and always preferred the Bejeweled style, so that’s a bit unfortunate, but once my brain rearranges itself to look for the proper patterns I should get on a roll.  I doubt I will ever be very good at this game, because my brain just doesn’t wrap itself around the dimensions very well, but I can see how a true chess master can plan their moves in advance and think “okay if I slide this to the left it will match up these tiles here, AND set up this tile over on the right side of the screen so that I can slide that other row and match those for my next move, and then…”  I will never be that person, unfortunately.

2013-01-15_00001It should be immediately apparent that you do not play the game for the graphics.  It has a “retro” style, I suppose, complete with MIDI music (which I immediately turned off -.-) and old school sound effects that sound like they could be ripped straight out of Mario Bros.

You slide the rows around and try to match (at least) three in a row (not diagonally, of course).  Match wood, you collect some wood.  Match stone, you collect some stone.  Match a treasure chest (or maybe it’s a backpack…) and you get either gold or an item to use later.

As your little dude runs through the dungeon, he comes up against obstacles.  Match swords and staves to beat the crap out of monsters, and match keys to open chests and locked doors.  Match shields for an armor barrier against the monster attacks.

This is where complaints number 1 and 2 come in.  1: The game isn’t terribly informative.  It had a “tutorial” where it explained some of the matching, and it has tips on the end of run screen, but for the most part I had to figure out a lot of the items myself.  I wasn’t actually sure what the red tiles were until I got the ability to upgrade my staff and put it together.  2: If you match a sword or key while you are not next to a monster or chest (even if you are currently running toward one), they poof harmlessly.  You don’t store any of this stuff for later, it has to be used in the right time and place to be effective.  That is not always an option, and to make it worse, if you match them too early you’ve used those tiles and they’re not available when you trip on a monster later.

But as with all match 3 games, quick matches are the best policy, even if they don’t technically help you at the moment.  To help fill the gaps you have some items, like a skeleton key that will instantly open locks, or an axe which takes a chunk off a monster, a map which converts some tiles to other tiles, or food which will give you a bit of extra time.  The screen is always moving so you have to keep matching and moving past obstacles so you don’t get squished on the side.  Finishing the run will net you a bonus, but failing only means you go back home and get ready to start again.

2013-01-15_00002At the end of your run you get your score and you see how you did on the optional objectives.  Completing an objective gives you a big bonus, but failing them doesn’t really harm you.

The game has a bit of a grind element to it, in that your resources are persistent.  The objective is to reach 10,000,000 points in a single run, but actually DOING that will not only require you to be good at the game, but also your little dude has to be reasonably strong.  He becomes stronger as you collect resources and upgrade his equipment and teach him new skills.

2013-01-15_00003After every run, you go back home.  There are several shops there where you can purchase skills or equipment upgrades.  Equipment lets you do things like hit harder, move faster, delay monsters or hurt them when they hit you.  Skills do things like collect more resources or activate random procs to hurt monsters.  Everything is geared toward helping you complete the dungeon quicker and with a higher score, but to buy the abilities you have to first level appropriately to be eligible to unlock and repair the shop, then once it’s unlocked, you have to upgrade them all to continue to get upgrades from them.  That’s where the wood and stone you’ve been collecting comes in.

The final shop is an alchemist which is almost a challenge mode shop.  Each potion gives you a beneficial effect, but at the cost of something else.  So you can boost your score, but at the cost of monsters and chests being harder to clear… are you good enough to make the trade worth it?  There are also things like getting tons of resources, but no experience, which is good if you’re pushing for a certain upgrade and want to stock up quickly.

I really enjoy this sort of persistent system in games.  I don’t know why more games don’t try to include it.  It adds so much to the longevity of the game.  Yes, the upgrades are kind of grindy and ultimately it’s a bit pointless since the game doesn’t really change as you get more powerful, but god dammit I only need 100 more gold to buy the next type of material!  …Just one more run and then I’ll quit.  Oh wait that run didn’t last very long, just one more, then I’ll totally quit for the night.

About tagracat
I am not a professional, I don't get paid to review shit, I am just opinionated and I seem to have some sort of disorder that results in spewing my opinions onto the internet. I enjoy writing long-winded posts about things and sometimes I like to pretend people want to read them, so a blog seemed an appropriate place to stuff it. But mostly I just like writing about things.

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