Ten seconds doesn’t seem like a long time. However, when your life is on the line, it can feel like an eternity. What would you do if you had such a small window of opportunity? Would you cry and fail, or would you fight back? This is the concept behind TEN! It is a brutal gaming experience that is not for the weak.
Developed by The Bworg and published by Ratalaika Games, this is a hardcore platforming experience. It will kick your ass throughout and make you want to scream. Yet, its tough action is super rewarding and undeniably addictive. Furthermore, it is not a title for the faint of heart and it will break the best gamers around.
TEN is a cruel game.
If you don’t like to fail, then TEN is not for you. It is a game that tests your patience, memory, and resolve. I admit that its cruel ways make me roar with anger. However, I couldn’t put it down. Its simplicity and sick ways demand you keep playing. Consequently, no matter how many times I died, I just tried again. Like Dark Souls and Super Meat Boy, TEN taps into that stubborn part of your brain. Its repetitive nature allows you to fine-tune your approach and succeed, eventually.
Where TEN falls short is its lack of a story. From what I can gather, you are part of some cruel experiment. Potentially, you may be entertainment for a sick society. Whatever the reason, the outcome is the same! You must tackle a gauntlet of deadly rooms. You’ll face a gargantuan boss if you survive each of the 9 tasks. Defeat this monster and you’ll continue to the next floor, where the action begins again. If you have the skills and the luck, perhaps you’ll escape this madness, but I very much doubt it.
So many traps.
The core concept of TEN is straightforward. Each floor is made up of 10 rooms and each room lasts for 10 seconds. As you explore, you must avoid traps, lasers, bullets, and spikes. On top of this, there are circular blades, monsters, and bombs to disarm. If you get hit, and you will, your health will be impacted. You’ll lose your hearts and death is all but assured. This is made worse as this will wipe your progress and you’ll have to restart the level. This was infuriating, unfair, but oh so brilliant!
As you restart your run, you must learn from your mistakes. Subsequently, your memory is put to the test. You’ll be expected to remember where the traps are, how they move, and the best path to take. If you forget, or you make an error, you’ll die. Therefore, practice makes perfect in this harsh arena. However, things are made easier as your hero can be improved.
New skills and abilities can be purchased from the rest area. But, like the other elements, affording the upgrades isn’t an easy task. You must collect tokens in each of the rooms. However, if the timer runs out, the coins disappear. Consequently, you have to move quickly if you wish to collect them all. With the tokens, you can improve health, speed, agility, and more. They are a game-changing aspect and are essential if you wish to progress.
TEN is captivating to look at.
The art style of TEN is old-school and simple, yet it’s captivating. Its brilliant monochromatic style is punctuated with orange and red colours. These vivid tones highlight danger and death and work perfectly. Every trap, projectile, and enemy glows red and fills you with fear. What’s more, the impending danger burns orange before turning red. This simple approach is fantastic, as there is no confusion. Consequently, you know exactly what to expect from the off. What’s more, the fixed-screen perspective allows you to study each arena. This was also an excellent decision, as it gave you a tactical advantage. This, in theory, should help, but instead, it infuriates you more as you make unnecessary errors.
What I also loved was the sci-fi soundtrack. The futuristic nature of the action is captured within each synth song. The electronic and fast-paced music matches the madness on the screen. This is then complemented by the cruel sound effects. Projectiles whistle through the air as saw blades churn. The combination of sounds is uncomfortable but adds to the drama.
Remarkably responsive controls.
In a game where every error is fatal, you need responsive controls. Fortunately, TEN is remarkably easy to play. Thanks to its excellent layout and clever UI, it’s easy to master. Luckily, this continues as you upgrade your hero. With clear instructions, you’ll know exactly what you are doing.
If you can overcome every trap and problem, you’ll experience a relatively short game. However, there is both a hardcore and simple mode to increase longevity. If, on the other hand, you want an easy completion, there is a god mode. Now, this option undermines everything and is pointless. But, with it activated, you can complete the game with ease. If you don’t cheat, you’ll find some replay value as each playthrough is graded. Accordingly, hardcore gamers may wish to improve their score and their time.
TEN: you have to be cruel to be kind.
I game to relax, so normally I avoid these hardcore titles. Yet, I’m glad I got to review this one. It’s simple to pick up, cruel as hell, and will test you. Yes, I thought god mode was pointless, but that’s just me. All things considered, I recommend you to buy it here! Life is cruel and unjust, but what are you going to do? You can accept your fate and hope for the best, or fight with your last dying breath.