Bejeweled kept me playing for hours on end way back in the day – the simple satisfying task of mindlessly lining up 3 of the same colour gem betrayed its huge amount of depth in terms of game design. EightyEightGames came up with a fitting addition to the genre, while sprinkling in RPG and action game elements just to keep it a tad fresh. There’s been other titles that tried to link the Bejeweled gameplay with RPG elements (Puzzle Quest), but none has done it the way that 10,000,000 has; the game is fast, furious and quite stressful.
You match tiles by scrolling rows and columns around. The first time I played, I understood the concept, but I couldn’t see any way to make matches. Once you get into it, it will feel natural, though, not to mention the fact that this gameplay style will create a lot more double and triple matches at once, making it feel more satisfying. Also, it is also a lot easier to randomly find matches. Scrolling a row around will generally find at least one easily highlighted match. Despite this, the game is not easy – there’s strategy involved, you always have some achievements you need to get in order to progress in difficulty. You need to progress in difficulty in order to increase your score and resources multiplier. You need to raise the multipliers in order to reach the overall goal of the game.
Reach the score of 10,000,000 in order to escape the dungeon.
You really won’t be able to do so in the first playthrough, no matter how good you are. You’ll inevitably die many many times before you finally reach the goal. Between each playthrough, though, you get to upgrade your stuff – you unlock rooms in your home base as you progress in difficulty (by getting the achievements) in which you’ll be able to buy various upgrades to your equipment with gold (gained from chests) and upgrades to your character with experience (from killing monsters). This aspect of progression keeps you coming back for more, since no matter how much you might believe that you simply cannot progress anymore, the resources you get during any playthrough are there to stay, accumulating in order to get the next step in your character’s progression.
The game’s 8bit style presentation reminds me a lot of Atari’s Pitfall, but the game design behind the game is as modern as it comes, despite the game being deceptive surface simplicity. To top the frenetic pace of the game you have the awesome soundtrack, some of which you can listen to here. It may get a bit repetitive after a while, but it represents what the game is all about perfectly.
It’s on Steam at the reasonable price of $5 (5 EURO). I played it for roughly 4 hours before I finished – couldn’t stop playing until I did. Get it here!
Note: This is the 100th post! To the 10 millionth!