Stop me if you’ve heard this one: You’re trapped in a dungeon, and you need to match like-colored tiles to get out. I know, I know – stories like this are a dime a dozen, but here we are at 10000000, an Android role-playing / puzzle game that looks like it could have been released on the Commodore 64. Thankfully, for those of us without pacemakers, you can get it on your phone. And you should.
Rejecting any blasé commas or punctuation, “10000000” represents the required score you’ll need to acquire in a single game to earn your freedom. Easier said than done, since if you’re not fast enough with the tile shifting, a bunch of monsters will kill you. You can expect the traditional dragons, sentient trees and wizards of any self-respecting dungeon crawler, and you’ll do battle with them with vicious tile-matching combos.
The core gameplay is highly reminiscent of Tetris Attack, Pokemon Puzzle League, Puzzle Quest, and probably a hundred thousand other tile-based puzzle game. What sets 10000000 apart, then, is the incorporation of good ol’ fashioned leveling-up. Every now and again you’ll move up a rank, giving you more options for offensive and defensive upgrades, but drastically ramping up the strength and stamina of your opposition. It’s this give-and-take system that gets you profoundly addicted before realizing how often you’ve died, and it works like a charm.
Visually, the game nails its super-low-definition look, while maintaining a surprising level of detail. Enemies are small, and realistically speaking, most of the action doesn’t even require you to look at them, but they are intricately animated. More importantly, the tile board is crisp and colorful, which makes searching for the right piece to move out of the corner of your eye intuitive, and rarely frustrating.
The soundtrack can be as infectious as the gameplay. While there are only two or three main tracks, they strike just the right balance of catchy and entrancing, going a long way to encourage marathon play sessions. The sound effects, particularly those reserved for combos, are awesome as well – satisfying without coming off as grating. That said, this is a puzzle game, and I’m sure most of you out there would rather keep listening to whatever you’ve got on your iPod than its tinny and repetitive soundtrack. And like any puzzler worth its salt, 10000000’s tons of fun with or without the sound on.
One of the game’s most addictive qualities are the constantly renewing objectives; I wouldn’t call them “Achievements,” since they only give you gold bonuses, but they help keep the action fresh. Much like the Missions in Halfbrick Games’ superb Jetpack Joyride, it’s amazing how much replay value EightyEight Games gets out of just slightly tweaking how you play every now and again. Frankly, I prefer this philosophy over a static list of Achievements, and I’d rather get a little extra gold than whatever bragging rights people still think come with GamerScore.
I just don’t have any real complaints with 10000000. As a puzzle game, it’s one of the most enjoyable available on the platform. As a dungeon-crawling RPG, it’s nowhere near as deep as most of its predecessors, but it doesn’t need to be. Android role-playing games can reach some mind-boggling lengths, but 10000000 makes up for it in good old-fashioned replay value. The $1.99 price is more than worth the 10 hours or so I’ve already played for, and I can already tell it’s gonna be a go-to time-killer on the subway.
Fast, frantic, and fun. 10000000 is a puzzle game with surprising depth. It’s a budget-priced Puzzle-RPG you’ll be hooked on for a while.