I think you’ll agree that ten seconds doesn’t usually feel like a long time. Well, imagine that there are numerous turrets raining down fire and lasers looking to chop you into little pieces. Then ten seconds starts to feel like a lifetime.
You take up the role of a poor soul who is seemingly trapped in a murderous facility, and is put through numerous sadistic rooms which are designed to put survival skills to the test. Think Portal, but less cubes and more buzzsaws. Although simple, the story told in TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds certainly piqued my interest.
As you may have guessed from the title, each floor has ten rooms, and in the vast majority of them you simply have to survive for ten seconds. Your platforming skills will be tested, as well as your patience, as each floor gets increasingly busy and more difficult to clear.
Running and jumping like a madman is usually the key to success, whilst trying to dodge everything attempting to kill you. The control setup is on screen at all times to aid you, but I found that occasionally my button presses didn’t register which resulted in my immediate death. Rather helpfully anything which can do you harm is red. Red for danger. As this is set against the monochrome environment, it makes the hazards clear to see.
Some rooms also house bombs, which all need to be diffused within the time limit to prevent your destruction. The greater challenge lies in trying to collect the coins as you run this gauntlet, which come in very handy as you progress.
There are a fair few different creatures and bits of machinery that will wind up ending your run, and these can be reviewed in a log accessed from the main menu. If you do die, you’ll need to start the entire floor again. However, the key to TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds is learning from your mistakes and after a few attempts, you will find your way through the maze of death.
In a final twist, the last room on each floor usually houses a boss character. You’ll need to survive for thirty seconds to clear these encounters, instead of the billed ten. Things are mixed up on a few occasions with you entering an on-rails segment to escape, instead of facing off against a boss.
Each floor you battle through is loosely themed, certainly in terms of the dangers you will encounter. Fire, water and earth are the cornerstones of the environments and nasties you will come across during your struggle. You’ll also be able to visit a safe room at the start of each floor, where you will meet dwindling numbers of other survivors and discover nuggets of info about the nightmarish world you are battling to escape.
It’s also here where you can use your hard earned coins to purchase upgrades in a hope to make life a little easier going forward. Buffs such as extra hearts, a bubble shield and a magnetic field to attract extra coins are available. You won’t have enough coins to unlock all the upgrades, so choosing the best ones to suit your playstyle is key. They are organised into three branches, so committing to one path will unlock more powerful abilities.
As you clear each floor, you’ll unlock its soundtrack and all in all they are a pretty good listen. The visual style serves its purpose, the word “functional” probably being the best way to describe it. TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds is optimised for Xbox Series X|S but I’m not entirely sure how or why.
Your death count and run time is tracked on screen as you play, and you receive an overall grade at the end of your playthrough, seemingly suggesting that you should go back to try and better your previous performances. TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds is pretty good fun to play, and certainly challenging in parts despite the fact the difficulty curve isn’t smooth. However, I had no real desire to go back and play it again after the couple of hours it took me to beat the game and I can’t see that changing in the future.
With TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds you know exactly what you’re getting – a fast paced platformer that puts your reflexes to the test. It’s an enjoyable, no frills ride while it lasts.
TEN – Ten Rooms, Ten Seconds is on the Xbox Store