Game Review: 10000000

10000000: EightyEight Games, iPhone/Touch/iPad, $2.

Content issues: none, unless you’re one of those weird Christians who believe works of fiction containing magic are the devil’s truss or something, in which case … just go away. 

For iPhone Launch Day, and as a bit of a break from the current whirlwind of fake Jesus news, I thought I’d post a straight-up mobile game review, since that’s kind of my day job. (Do you folks want regular game reviews even if they don’t have any religious content? I’m still undecided about that. )

As a game reviewer, I sometimes stumble across something so unexpected that I start really loving my job instead of merely being glad I’m not working in Sewer Rat Control or Industrial Sludge Removal. 10000000 is a case in point. It popped up in the new release list with an ugly icon, a stupid and irritating title (there are no commas, so I have to count the zeros each time I write it), unappealing screen shots, and what appears to be a single guy doing all the development work. In 99 cases out of a 100, this is a recipe for instant skip.

The title is “ten million,” and I eventually figured out it’s a reference to the ultimate top score. I haven’t even come close to reaching that score, so I don’t know what happens when I do, but I hope it’s something pretty darn important since it’s the title of the game and appears to have no other point.

But something amazing happened when 10000000 landed on my device: in about 3 minutes flat, it immediately became one of my favorite mobile games of all time. I had to put in many more hours to be sure, but that was no problem since the entire thing is as addictive as crack and almost impossible to stop playing.

10000000 is mashup that should not work: role-playing game, retro arcade visuals, run to the right, and match-three. We’ve seen enough of all these elements to last us a lifetime, and one would think we’ve reached the end of ways to make match-three interesting.

One would be incorrect.

You begin each session in a little 3-story castle which contains 6 rooms. These rooms are where you can buy your upgrades (armor, weapons, spells, etc), and they can only be unlocked gradually. When you leave the castle, you’re instantly in an endless-runner world dealing with various obstacles by matching three or more items. Match shields to increase defense, wands for magic attacks, swords for combat, rocks and wood for expanding your castle, keys for locks, and backpacks for special items.

As you encounter each monster, you need to defeat it quickly by matching swords or staffs. Locks are opened with keys. The clock is always ticking, and if you don’t match fast enough, the level runs out and you lose. There are end bosses, level-increases, goals, and plenty of other things to keep you coming back, but it’s that magic combination of intense speed, matching, and rile-playing that makes this an addictive mix. In the app store, 10000000 looks like a game you would skip. Don’t make that mistake.

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About Thomas L. McDonald

Thomas L. McDonald writes about technology, theology, history, games, and shiny things. Details of his rather uneventful life as a professional writer and magazine editor can be found in the About tab.

  • Nick

    on the downside, once you “beat” the game, there’s a lot less reason to come back – but it WILL take a while to do that :)

  • victor

    Awesome review! Yes, at 10,000,000 points, you earn your freedom (you can still come back to the dungeon with all your powerups after beating the game). But before that happens expect to see green keys sliding around in your dreams for days.

  • Will Duquette

    What he said. I’ve played through it twice, once on my iPhone and once on my iPad, and yeah, it’s addicting. The thing is, it’s really a compulsion loop game. Play, accumulate experience and other resources, see what you can buy so that you can beat the next achievement, lather, rinse, repeat until done. I enjoyed it considerably, mind you…but the only time it took any real strategy was my first time through when I didn’t realize you could buy upgrades and was having to really work at moving up to the higher levels.

  • Thomas L. McDonald

    Whaaat? You beat it without upgrades? I yield to your superior skillz. You are, truly, l33t.

    And, yes, there is something compulsion loopy about it, but in my own writing I usually just use that phrase for social games which keep you logging in for maintenance steps rather than games which just keep you playing because of the their looping level structure.

  • Will Duquette

    Oh, no, I didn’t beat it without upgrades. But I got quite a long ways before it occurred to me to tap on the boarded up rooms on the first screen. After that everything was much easier, but also less interesting.

    I see your point regarding compulsion loop games; still, it’s a tight loop here. Ooooh, I just got a lot of experience and resources! What can I buy? Ooooh, I just bought some neat stuff! What can I kill? Ooooh, I just got a lot of experience…. Kept me awake long after my bedtime one night.