Ten levels. Ten Rooms. Ten Seconds. Ten or less deaths would be a herculean feat…
The premise of TEN is to go through ten floors, while beating ten rooms at a time, without dying. When you enter each room, a timer starts counting down from ten and all you have to do is survive until time runs out. Sounds easy. However, it is most definitely NOT easy.
The rooms are filled blades, cannons, spikes, bombs, lasers, meatgrinders, bosses, and many many many more obstacles designed to impede your progress. All of these obstacles can be explored in more detail in the bestiary.
Surviving for ten seconds only happens with quick thumbs, acrobatic agility, precise timing, and an abundance of patience. This game is intended to be punishing, even on normal difficulty, and wants to teach the player patience by killing them over and over again. Rage quitting won’t do anyone any good.
The only exceptions to the ten second rule are the boss fights. The boss fights vary immensely, from endless runners to shmups to traditional boss fights. They all have their unique style and they’re all awesome.
What’s wonderful about this game is how good it feels to play. The controls are tight and responsive, making the player feel like they’re in total control. Deaths never feel cheap and survival always feels earned. As the character gains upgrades, the speed and agility become even more pronounced and the game gets even more fun.
My singular complaint about TEN is that all of the upgrades are affordable by the third floor. With all the upgrades out of the way, progression doesn’t feel quite as satisfying and coins feel rather useless throughout the remainder of the game.
It may be surprising to find out that a game as simple and affordable as TEN has a story, but it does. Not only does it have a story, but it has a GOOD one. Without spoilers: this story is mysterious and has a great payoff at the end.
Each floor has a diary entry that drip feeds and hints at the deeper story line. Additionally, each safe room has a few characters lounging around and giving their thoughts on the situation. Additionally, there is an accessibility mode for players who want to see the story through, but can’t compete with the myriad of death traps. There’s also a hard mode for people who love the pain.
TEN has a fantastic soundtrack. It jumps around through different genres to fit the moods of each level. The tunes hype you up when you need it, pushing you to play faster and harder. They’re epic when you’re winning and mellow when you’re recharging. There’s even a jukebox in the main menu so that players can sit back and jam out when they’re not playing the game!
This game is going to sneak by a lot of people, so lets get the good word out there about TEN!