Sawbuck Gamer

10000000

Castlemania

You know what they say: If you try and fail 9,999,999 times…try 10000000.

By Drew Toal • August 9, 2012

Sawbuck Gamer is our daily review of a free or cheap ($10 or less) game.

The pull of mindlessly slaying monsters and collecting treasure is a strong one. Diablo III has snared millions into its web of compulsive mouse clicks and magical-item avarice, and even the worst dungeon crawler plays on our collective need for stuff. I’ve never met an enchanted piece of cursed armor I didn’t like. In 10000000, you’re put through a gauntlet of monsters, treasure chests, and locks, all of which can only be overcome by matching blocks. Specific matches determine your actions—matching a row of swords will unleash an attack, a row of wood gives you lumber, keys for locked doors, and so on. Time is extremely limited, but each time you respawn in your castle, you’ll have accumulated resources from the previous round. These can be used to unlock and upgrade gear and abilities, which can hopefully help you stay alive a little longer each time.

Mixing, as it does, the addictive properties of loot gathering and block-matching, 10000000 can quickly suck you in, but the slowness of the belligerent progression and a general repetitiveness proved exhausting for me. The benefits of upgrading are minuscule, and getting to the final goal of 10,000,000 points seems quixotic at best. Mixing Dark Souls and Bejeweled might sound like a cool idea, but some things—like week-old shrimp and a hangover or Teti and stale cereal bars—are better left uncoupled.

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425 Responses to “Castlemania”

  1. Yeah. I played through to the “end”, but I just don’t see how this is the next Dungeon Raid. It’s great if you find Bejeweled-style gameplay inherently interesting, but for me I think there’s too much time pressure to really enjoy it, and too few interesting decisions to make that committment worthwhile.

    Maybe this is the problem: in Dungeon Raid, the puzzle elements affect the RPG elements and vice-versa. You have spells and monsters that drastically affect the board, or allow you to find matches in ways you normally couldn’t, and throughout the game you make a lot of neat RPG-style choices about which of those abilities you get and how you deal with those monsters. Whereas here there’s almost nothing you can do to the tiles except make matches, and occasionally use a scroll to transmute a few blocks. You’re playing an old puzzle with an RPG happening in the background, but the game does nothing to make the action any more fun than it was ten years ago.

  2. Aurora Boreanaz says:

    I read about this game via the Penny Arcade Review, and it was pretty awesome how it became popular.

    http://penny-arcade.com/report/editorial-article/a-pregnancy-an-enthusiastic-editor-and-the-worst-name-ever-the-unlikely-suc

    The author did no promotion or marketing ahead of time, but the game got reviewed within the first 12 hours it was in the app store, resulting in a bunch of sales.

    I’d love to try it out, but still have no mobile device other than a Kindle.

  3. Effigy_Power says:

    I recommend King’s Guard:

    http://www.kongregate.com/games/KingDotCom/kings-guard?acomplete=guard

    It’s fast, fun, has a lot of interesting mechanics and is free.

  4. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:

    This looks kinda like Puzzle Quest to me, which is totally awesome. PQ had duels though, which gave it some longevity. As far as I can tell this one doesn’t have that. Also, I don’t have iAnything so it doesn’t even matter. Harumph.

    • blue vodka lemonade says:

       My sister and I played Puzzle Pirates pretty obsessively for a while, though the pay-to-win aspect eventually drove us away. It had (has?) a really great variety of different puzzles for different tasks, which made it more interesting than 10000000 has been for me so far.

      Also: CorpseCraft. It’s possibly iPad-only, but it’s a well-balanced mashup of block-matching and tower defense, with a cute Edward Gorey-esque art style.