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Ten Review

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Fast Facts

Ten
Developer: The Bworg
Publisher: Ratalaika Games
Website: https://www.ratalaikagames.com/
Genre(s): Platformer, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation and Xbox)
Age Rating: PEGI 16
Release Date: 03/06/2022
Price: £4.99

A code was provided for review purposes

The Clock is Ticking, So Let’s Begin

Ten is an action-platformer that focuses on surviving an onslaught of traps and enemies for ten seconds. Does this simple concept make Ten a game that stands out from others in the genre? Find out in this Rapid Review.

man standing in the center of a room with a cannon shooting at him and spikes on the ground
Avoid the red

The first thing I noticed about this game was how simple it was. The default controls only required me to move and jump. This made the initial puzzles rudimentary as well. I dodged spikes, turrets, and other traditional obstacles. Despite how overdone many of these traps are, the fundamental movement and jump mechanics feel excellent, and I enjoyed manoeuvring my way through them. As I progressed further into the title, both the traps and my abilities developed, making the game even more exciting.

As I ventured through the ten floors featured in this game, the environments started to become more interesting. I traversed a blazing furnace, the deep sea, and even an apocalyptic area. The different locales introduced corresponding enemies and traps which helped maintain my interest. I thought each was done perfectly, and the ten rooms on each floor were more than enough to develop the ideas the developers had. While the developer continued introducing new ideas, they never felt overwhelming, and even if I died a few times to a new trap or enemy, there were frequent (but not too frequent) checkpoints that made my journey easier while retaining my excitement once completing a section. Both the environments and hazards flourished wonderfully throughout Ten.

Upgrades People, Upgrades

Even my base character could get upgrades. There was a shop that sold upgrades to my health, offered different perks, and granted abilities. While not every upgrade revolutionized the way I played the game, many of them did, and they were excellent quality of life upgrades. Many of the features I wanted were there. I could purchase a dashing move, a double jump, and even an upgrade to decrease the amount of time I needed to wait in a level. These were implemented wonderfully. I enjoyed seeing my character grow increasingly more powerful.

man is running from massive red spiked wheels
Keep running!

Moreover, the introduction of a shop that genuinely impacted my character’s abilities made currency valuable. The developers of Ten scattered coins around each level. While attempting to survive the onslaught, I could try to grab them. This was an optional challenge, but it was strongly encouraged. Without the upgrades, the game is still possible, but it would be overly challenging. I liked the way the developers implemented it. The currency forced me to get comfortable with the controls and know exactly how to manoeuvre through the levels.

At the same time, I was disappointed with how the currency was saved. If I died, I would lose any currency I picked up. Innately, this was not a big deal. However, if I walked back to the first room on any floor, my currency would be saved. This confused me because the players who need currency and upgrades the most are those who are dying more often. I wanted the currency to be saved regardless. Plus, taking the quick but tedious trip back to the beginning any time I wanted to buy an upgrade in the middle of a level was frustrating. Still, this was an incredibly minor grievance, and hardly hindered my experience with Ten.

Longevity

The only other thing that was a bit disappointing was how brief the game was. Again, for a game designed around only surviving ten seconds in each room, it makes sense for the runtime to be shorter than usual. However, I was thoroughly enjoying it throughout and wanted it to last longer than the two hours it took me to complete.

man is in a submarine shooting at tentacles
Multiple ways to play!

Luckily, there are multiple difficulties for me to play on now that I have completed it once. The developer included a more challenging “Hell” mode, as well as a ranking system to score how well I did on my playthrough. Since the game is so short, it is easy for me to see myself returning to the title to try to receive a higher score or to play through the game on a more challenging difficulty.

At the same time, Ten featured difficulty options for those who needed assistance. If the levels were too challenging or they were getting frustrating, I could use a machine that made me less susceptible to attacks. I thought it was a great way to make the game accessible to anyone, regardless of their skill level. Moreover, due to the short run time, the players who played through the game on the easier mode may be interested in repeating their playthrough on a more challenging one, further increasing their skill level. The difficulty options featured in this game helped a lot with both longevity and accessibility.

Surroundings and Sounds

man running in the center of the room with jellyfish nearby
As my journey progressed, I unlocked new upgrades

To supplement the title, there are some light story elements. However, these were nothing spectacular. I enjoyed learning about the significance of the others surrounding me and what my role was in the world, but I would not recommend this to someone looking for a narrative adventure. The theming worked well, but it is not a major selling point.

Similarly, the sound design is also nice, but I would not list it as a selling point. I enjoyed the soundtrack and I enjoyed how I could listen to it whenever I wanted, even outside of the levels, with a Jukebox mode. Even the sound effects were more than enough to keep me occupied. Still, these sounds only worked to accompany the preexisting gameplay.

Finally, the primarily monochromatic visuals were also stunning. Like Dojoran, all enemy and trap sprites are red, meaning everything was easily visible. However, Ten does this better, and everything was more obviously telegraphed. The visuals both looked excellent and showed all information regarding how the enemies and traps worked. Plus, I thought the character animation was lively too. The visuals were well done.

man talking to another gentleman saying "maybe failure is all part of the plan for whoever built this place"
Good thing I did not fail

Conclusion

Overall, I really enjoyed my experience with Ten. I typically enjoy fast-paced platformers and I enjoyed the movement mechanics in this game, so it was a recipe for success. Despite the short run time, the multiple levels of difficulty and grading system make Ten an incredibly rewarding game. Ten showcases an excellent idea that is simple, but expertly calibrated.

Rapid Reviews Rating

gold score

4.5 out of 5

4.5

You can purchase Ten on the Nintendo Switch here

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