10 Seconds to Win! Logo
10 Seconds to Win! Icon
10 Seconds to Win!

Developer: Vergiu

Publisher: eastasiasoft

  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Mar 6, 2024
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Last on Sale: -
  • Lowest Historic Price: -
  • ESRB Rating: E [Everyone]
  • Watch this review on YouTube
    In a sea of other challenging platformers, even ones on a budget, the controls are a bit too loose to be competitive

    One thing I’ve absolutely learned playing so many indie games is that looks can be deceiving, and that can easily work in either direction. Something that looks amazing doesn’t necessarily guarantee a comparable gameplay experience, and there are plenty of titles out there that aren’t lookers but deliver when it comes to compelling play. 10 Seconds to Win is obviously trying to overcome an enormously simple look, no doubt hoping to compel you to get your precision platforming fix for a while, as you try to blow through compact but tough stages while you’re on the clock. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite come to the plate with enough precision in the controls to cut it.

    Starting with what works, on a basic level the fundamentals for success are in place. The level design, though not necessarily inspired, is built around throwing a variety of challenges at you. Aside from the constant urgency of fighting the clock, each level will lay down a variety of obstacles in your way. These can involve simply trying to get around the level quickly, trying to avoid traps, making use of special platforms, and more. Of course, the further you get the tougher it will continue to get, as you’d expect, but curiously the game misses an opportunity to simply track your best times, without even getting into the concept of trying to have leaderboards for people to compete over.

    As for the problems, they actually start with failing to do a reasonably good job helping people to get up to speed with the controls and the nature of how they can work. Specifically for me it was the dash, which I’m used to just working to the left or the right, and the sign posted on the level implied the same. It took a bit of luck to understand that I could control which direction I could dash in, but a simple diagonal line on the sign could have implied what could be done rather than assuming people would guess. But that’s just small potatoes compared to the game’s worst key failing, which is in the controls. Perhaps holding up the standard of Super Meat Boy, or even the super-tight controls of Flat Heroes, is asking too much but the space has plenty of precision platformers, and to be up to the task it all begins with the controls. Given how much precision you need for even things like falling, it all feels too loose and unwieldy, making the challenge of grappling with the game’s mechanics almost tougher than the stages themselves. Worse yet, after repeatedly trying to jump at the edge of ledges, I found it very difficult to feel out where the edge is based on the art. What, to me, feels like a space I should instinctively still be able to jump from is instead just a point to fall off from, and this was a consistent aggravation since it never quite made visual sense where the ledges are, and this is after 40 or so years of gaming that have given me a sense for this sort of thing.

    Put this all together, and whether this is a budget title or not, it really comes up short of ticking the most important box it could have, all while not being particularly attractive or inspired either. That sort of leaves it without a leg to stand on, at least in any area other than price, and there’s simply too much out there in the eShop that demonstrates that settling for this isn’t necessary.

    Justin Nation, Score:
    Bad [5.4]

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