Today’s Indie Wonder-find, 10000000 (by EightyEightGames) came to me via the combined effort of Tom Chick of Quarter to Three (who first brought to my attention the fact that this game exists) and Adam Smith of Rock Paper Shotgun (who informed me about the game’s then-imminent PC release). As such, I know a few things about 10000000 already: I know it’s a variant of the tile-matching genre, I know it has RPG elements, and I know the correct number of zeroes in the title is seven. ‘Ten million’, if words are more your thing.
(Spoiler levels: Narrative, pflrt. Mechanical, high.)
Very first screen upon starting the game, right here:
Well, that’s at least an interesting start. The next screen shows a sleeping guy, a couple of boarded-up door portals, and one big double door. There’s a cogwheel in the top right corner, four coloured counters in the top left, and a score counter contrasting my current total of zero points (from the German jury) to the apparent end goal of ten million.
Is this a menu? Where are the credits? Are the options under the cogwheel? And who’s the elf?
Since a few pushy arrows direct me towards the boarded-up doors, I click one of them at random. Upon doing so, Sleeping Guy jumps out of bed, stands around for a few seconds, and proclaims “Where am I?“.
Oh, shit. Did we start already? I’m not ready, I’m not ready!
Okay, I’m ready now.
I click around a bit, mindful of the fact that ‘my keyboard will not avail me here’. It’s a goddamn lie, because pressing Escape brings up the Options menu just fine, but I’ll let that slide this time. This time. Gandalf would be disappointed, though.
Clicking on the various boarded-up doors brings up vague and confusing popups about ‘the room needing repair’. Apparently I need a rank for that? And stuff?
There’s only one door I haven’t clicked… the big set of double doors. Doing so nets me this screen:
Which segues into this:
So it’s a tile-matcher, huh? It reminds me of Puzzle Quest immediately.
A series of popups informs me how this game is to work. In contrast to ‘regular’ tile-matchers, tiles are not transposed by swapping, but rather by dragging rows horizontally or vertically. The goal is still to create rows of three or more, however. As in Puzzle Quest, every colour (and in this case, icon) of tile has a different secondary effect that’s unleashed on matching. Matching the blue swords creates a physical attack, for instance, while matching the red staves creates a magical one. I use this new knowledge to my advantage to defeat what I assume to be a zombie.
Wait, how did I get to that zombie? That rectangular passage visible on top there represents a dungeon corridor, which my pixelated paladin is currently running through. He starts somewhere in the middle, but slowly moves to the right while running: this is a Good Thing. However, the dungeon is littered with obstacles, many of the Monster Trying To Kill Me form. While confronting such an obstacle, the hero stands still; as he does, the corridor keeps moving along, slowly sliding his heroic ass to the left. This is a Bad Thing. The whole corridor is basically a glorified timer: run free and my time increases, but fiddle with an obstacle and it decreases. Hit the left-most edge of the screen, and it’s Run Over.
Oh, and monsters are (of course) not passive. They can and will attack me, and a successful attack will push me a bit left. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
There’s stationary obstacles too, though. For instance, this chest:
Opening chests requires matching the green key tiles, and can reward me with gold and items. ‘Items’ in this sense referring to the four square slots on the left: these can hold items I loot, until such time as I click on them to use them. The Skeleton Key opens two locks immediately, to name one.
Other tiles do other things: Dark green shields create a stacking defense against enemy attacks, preventing them from sending me back. Purple chests act as, well, dungeon chests, containing items and gold. And finally, the brown wood and grey stone tiles should be obvious to anyone who’s ever played a video games. Or who’s seen the above door-related screenshot, at least.
Eventually, I lose. It was pretty much inevitable. Doing so completes the Learn To Play meta-goal, that I had, apparently, and grants me the rank of Wayfarer. No, I don’t actually know what any of this means.
The goals actually become obvious pretty quickly. If you’ve played Jetpack Joyride, it’s like that. If you haven’t: during every run, I can have up to three goals above and beyond ‘survive for as long as possible’. For instance, these:
And after a little clicking around, I find that one of the boarded doors required both the rank of Wayfarer and a small amount of Wood and Stone. One quick-fix later…
This room, the Trainer (Lv. 1) allows me to trade the purple EXP resource for traits. You can probably guess what-about they look like, but here:
Now I want to see what’s behind Door Number Two, too. And Three, and Four, and Five…
A few matches later…
Behind two more doors, I find a Blacksmith and a Staffmaker. These allow me to trade my Gold resource for upgrades to my… I guess my ‘sword’ and my ‘staff’? In effect, it just boosts my blue and red tiles.
Now the fever’s got me good, though. I want to open all of the doors. Be back after a few more runs!
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