Steamrolled: 10,000,000 Review

The tale of how an impulse buy on Steam becomes my latest obsession.

Steam just might be the bane of wallets everywhere: being able to click-click-buy any game that takes my fancy is dangerous in the extreme, especially when they’re on sale and “only a few dollars”.  Worse than that, when I come across a little game-gem, I immediately feel justified in future purchases.

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10,000,000 is one of those gems. (One of the in-game tips: do not name your game 10,000,000.)

The Gameplay: How 10,000,000 Runs

The general idea is that you need to get 10,000,000 points to escape from the prison you’re in.  Don’t worry about why.  Just keep moving and matching pieces, breaking blocks and getting your little pixelated hero across the screen.

If you stop, you have to break through whatever you’re stopped by.  Monsters take damage when you match three (or more) swords/staves; you can also match shields to reduce the amount of knockback you take when they hit you, so you don’t get bumped off the screen and have the run end.

You can also be stopped by chests or doors, which need keys.  And of course, you need to collect resources – gold, stone and wood – before the run ends by matching them up.

When the run ends, you head back to your cell. 

From there, you open up areas with wood and stone so that you can improve your possibilities on the run.  You build training rooms, smithies and the like.  And once you have those, you can spend experience on new talents, gold on improving your equipment (so that swords deal more damage, shields give you better reduction and the like) and even get potions to change what you get on a specific run.

Then it’s off to your next run.  Just keep running, just keep moving and you might just get out.

The Hook: Why I Can’t Stop

When I first started I thought it would be a quick diversion for a few hours, something I’d tinker with for a bit before getting bored and moving onto the next game. 

That was last week.  I’m still running.  And I’m going to keep running until I get out.

What looked like simple gameplay (in my head, I was going “Come on, how hard can a matching game be?”) is surprisingly rich and complex without being too difficult.  Having the RPG-ish aspect of leveling up items and buying perks keeps me interested, so there’s a balancing act beyond just matching up titles and zoning out.

And maybe the best thing I’ve seen about it is the matching interface.  Most of the ones I’ve played are tile-swaps: click one tile, click a tile next to it, match, repeat.  This is a full drag-match, where the whole bar moves.  If you’re lucky, you can match up two or three different lines at once.

I’m still getting used to that idea – I still want to click-click and match individual tiles – but it’s a little change that made all the difference, and it keeps me coming back.

Steamrolled Score : 9/10

This has been the first installment of Steamrolled, a semi-regular column about impulse buys on Steam that turn out either very impressive or very… not.

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