Over the last few months, we’ve been working on a couple of great games for PlayStation Mobile. We’re launching one right the heck now, a puzzle game, called Ten By Eight.
“Puzzle game” might be putting it too generally. I like to think of it as an “abstract strategy game with really fun graphics and music”. You can call it a puzzle game if you want though! I won’t cry.
With Ten By Eight, we made a game that I wanted to play — and I sure have played it a lot, and I’m still not bored.
I swear I’ve played it over 200 hours myself — which is normal, given that I, uh, directed the darn thing, though I swear that at least 80 of those have been recreationally, on the final version of the game. So, there’s, well . . . my stamp of approval, at least.
It’s playable on all PlayStation Certified devices with simple touch controls and the PS Vita version supports buttons.
I spent a large percentage of my childhood with a Rubik’s Cube in my hands — I even Rubik’s Cubed while reading books — so when Tetris first came out, my brain exploded. I’ve played dozens of puzzle games since then, and the genre continues to surprise me. These days, with the ubiquity of touch-screen devices, innovative puzzle games keep popping out of nowhere and amazing me — Drop7, Triple Town, and Stickets being some of my favorites, and instant classics like Where’s My Water? challenge the definitions of the genre.
I consider puzzle games the cleanest, purest, sparkliest genre of video games. I’ve always wanted to design one myself. So that’s what we at Action Button Entertainment have done.
The design of Ten By Eight grew from my love of super-long chain reactions in puzzle games, and also my love of navigating mazes.
In Ten By Eight, you can clear tiles which are connected adjacently to two or more tiles of the same color. You can clear tiles up or down, and even around corners.
You can clear as few as three tiles. If you’re like me, you won’t want to stop at three tiles. You can swap the position of two tiles if doing so puts either swapped tile into a connection of three or more tiles of the same color. Using this technique, you move tiles in the right order to build long chains!
Once you’ve built a chain of three or more tiles, you then swipe your finger over the tiles, starting at the tile you want to use to start the match. Draw a path through another tile of the same type to begin a chain. Release when you’ve selected three or more, and the tiles will clear.
Now here’s the most important part: Stars!
Stars are wildcards: use them to link together groups (of three or more!) of different colors of tiles. By moving tiles carefully so that they link up with stars, you can link together super-long matches.
You get points multipliers for each star you use in a chain. You get additional multipliers if your match touches the top and bottom, the left and right, or all four sides of the play field.
Of course, you get a base number of points per tile included in your match.
Ten By Eight is home to a lot of hot technique opportunities. For example: Using stars.It’s almost always possible to clear all eighty tiles in one action!
We have three modes in Ten By Eight:
- Zen Mode lets you chill out and get your head around the game mechanics.
- Timed Mode tests how many points you can make in three minutes.
- Endless Mode is an endless crossword puzzle . . . with tiles instead of words.
As you earn points across Ten By Eight’s various modes, you can equip different happy mascot characters to cheer you on as you play. Some of them are weird! And one of them is, in fact, the star of our next game — which I hope to announce soon.
So if you like puzzles, mazes, Rubik’s Cubes, Tetris Attack, and strategy games, please play Ten By Eight. It’s all of those things at the same time! It’s faster than brain surgery and it’s cheaper than a degree in quantum physics. Ten By Eight will make your head bigger, and you will love it.
PS Vita owners can download these games from the PlayStation Mobile section of PlayStation Store; Owners of PlayStation-certified devices such as the Sony Xperia Z smartphone, Wikipad or Sony Xperia Z tablet, can obtain them through the PlayStation Mobile Store for the same price.