10000000. The price of freedom. In this game, our little pixelated hero is locked in a castle, and he cannot escape until he earns 10000000 points during a dungeon run. Once he accomplishes this task, he is free to go. Fortunately, he has the ability to upgrade his armor, weapons, and magic staff to aid him in his battles.
I was fortunate to catch this game during one of Amazon's Free App of the Day promotions. I also noticed it on a previous Humble Bundle. After playing it for a few minutes, I can see why there is buzz about this game.
In 10000000, there is the home screen where the hero can prepare for the next dungeon run. This includes spending experience points to upgrade himself, gold for upgrading his armor and weapons in each of the appropriate upgrade rooms, and spending wood and stone for improving the levels on each of his upgrade rooms, which helps him continue to level his gear. As the game plays on, he can also choose to activate potions which can further modify effects as he dives into the dungeon.
After spending what he can improving himself, he heads into the dungeon. Here is where the main action is. Our hero travels left to right in an infinite run style, where various obstacles meet him. Anything, from a skeleton to a dragon to a large treasure chest can stop you in your tracks. While stopped, the screen slowly continues to scroll, and if you hit the far left edge, this dungeon run ends. The main screen area is the match 3 zone. Here, you drag icons onto each other, trying to make a match. If you are in front of a chest or door, and you match 3 or more keys, you open a lock; sometimes you need two locks. When you fight enemies, you need to attack them by matching 3 or more swords or magic wands to do damage to them.
It is also during the dungeon run that you can gain wood, stone, or gold. Wood and stone are gathered from the match 3 grid, while gold is received from defeating enemies and treasure chests. You can also get items along the way to help you.
On the top of the screen shows your inventory, where these helpful items go. Some of these can replace the need to match something, like the skeleton key equals 2 matches, while others can do direct damage to an enemy, or even food, which scrolls you farther to the right on the screen, which often can help make that dungeon run last longer.
Each visit to the dungeon typically only lasts a few short minutes, and perhaps even shorter if you are not doing well. The longer you last, the more points you can earn, which makes gaining your freedom much easier. As you do better and better, your character faces harder and harder enemies, which coincides with increasing dungeon levels. While it might be technically possible to beat the game on the first run, since you can progress from one dungeon level to the next in a single sitting, this is highly unlikely since the enemies get much more powerful. Beating a black dragon with your starting sword is a tall order, indeed. Upgrading your hero and his equipment is vital to succeed.
To go along with the classic match 3 gameplay and innovative RPG approach, there is a very retro graphical style, as well as a catchy chiptune soundtrack. I would say the graphics are a little bit of 4, 8, and 16-bit, and the sound is firmly 8-bit. It's fun to listen to, and the retro graphics add charm more than detract in any way.
Morally, this game is fairly clean. There is the magic wand weapon that you use when matching blocks, and there are random effects that this can cause to your opponent, like freezing or poison. Enemies are fantastical creatures, like ogres, trolls, and dragons. There are also undead, like skeletons. There is technically violence, but it's fairly well abstracted, as you see your sword or wand come out and the screen shake on a hit. There is no gore or blood of any kind.
10000000 is a really fun portable puzzle game. I played this game mostly on my tablet, where I wished I could play in landscape mode, but that's really a minor complaint. This game I played every chance I could for a couple of weeks on and off until I beat it. Considering how rarely I beat any game much less mobile ones, this is meant as quite the compliment to the author. Great job, EightyEight Games, and I look forward to anything else you bring out in the future!