Start Date: June 24, 2016
End Date: September 16, 2016
Loyal Sense-of-Right-Heads might remember that the very first game I finished and wrote about this year was a puzzle/RPG hybrid called You Must Build a Boat. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and ended my write-up by contemplating whether I should play the game’s predecessor, 10,000,000. Well, now I finally have.
In terms of gameplay, 10,000,000 is nearly identical to its sequel – so much so that describing it again here would be super repetitive. So in the interest of convenience, I will cut and paste the relevant information from my You Must Build a Boat entry:
[Gameplay consists of] racing through dungeons, defeating monsters and opening chests via classic Bejeweled-style match-three puzzling. There are a lot of intricacies involved in this process, but what it boils down to is matching weapons to defeat enemies, and matching keys to unlock chests.
The central mechanic is pretty much identical here, but the “hub world” that frames it is significantly less elaborate than that of the sequel. While You Must Build a Boat had you sailing the seas in a big elaborate ship filled with fun little nooks and crannies, this one dumps you into a comparatively dull, barebones dungeon:
The other major difference between the two games is the end goal the player is working towards. In You Must Build a Boat, you use your earnings to upgrade your boat, sailing to various locations and eventually reaching the end of your voyage. 10,000,000 has a much simpler goal, one that is pretty much summed up by the game’s title: to beat the game, you have to get a score of 10,000,000 in a single dungeon run.
This is a relatively easy accomplishment, so you might be wondering why it took me three goddamn months to beat this thing. Well the answer lies in a combination of the game’s half-ass user interface, and my own shitty observation skills. See, I mostly played 10,000,000 pretty idly, while I was watching TV or when I just needed a little break from more complicated games I was playing like The Swindle.
After a few gameplay sessions, I noticed that the game had become insanely difficult, and that opportunities to upgrade my skills just weren’t happening. That seemed odd, but since I only really played the game in short bursts while doing other shit, I just kinda shrugged it off and kept losing every time I played. I didn’t really care because I was basically just playing to satisfy my attention deficit disorder anyway, so winning vs. losing wasn’t really much of a consideration. This went on for months.
Then one day I happened to notice something I hadn’t before. As I went into one of the game’s item/ability shops (the doors seen in the above screenshot) to confirm for the umpteenth time that no new upgrades were available, something caught my eye.
Do you see that thingie that says “Upgrade” on the top of the screen? I’d always thought that was just part of the title, indicating that this menu was where you upgraded your tools. Nope! It’s a button, and pushing it upgrades the upgrade menu itself! When air did so, all those CANNOT UPGRADE buttons immediately transformed into shiny new upgrades, available for immediate purchase! I felt like such an idiot!
Since I’d been playing the game for months without making any skill purchases, I had about fifty kajillion dollars to throw around. Within moments, I’d upgraded everything in the game up to its maximum level. And then within an hour or so, I’d beaten the game.
Looking at that screenshot, I just now realized that this ocean-gazing ending seems to directly foreshadow the sequel, where you enter that ocean in A Boat You Must Build. Not sure if that was intentional or not, but it’s kinda neat.
Having played the games in this series in reverse order kinda leaves me in a weird spot when it comes to evaluating this one. The two games are very similar, except that You Must Build a Boat drastically improves upon every element of 10,000,000. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – a sequel should be a step up from its predecessor. But what that means is that, so long as the second game exists, I really have no reason to recommend this one. The best I can say is that if you’ve already built a boat, and you find yourself craving a little bit more of the same, that’s what this is.