Review: You Must Build a Boat

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game offers Achievements (or similar awards)!

Summary of major issues
You fight monsters using swords or magic, though this isn't very violent as it's depicted by having the combatants bump into each other.

At one point in the game, you pass through Hell.

Screenshots

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A decent sized boat - but we can do better

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The journey ahead

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A dash through Hell

General Information

Genre:Match 3 ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Children (6+)
Played on:Thaddeus
Available from: Steam
Save System:Your progress is saved whenever you return to the boat or, if you're already there, when something changes (such as when you purchase an upgrade or recruit a monster).

Game Overview

Aside from having an awkward title, 10,000,000 was an interesting game about fighting monsters and escaping from a dungeon. This was all well and good, but it needed something more. The sequel provides us with another tile matching adventure, but this time our goal isn't to just score a lot of points; now You Must Build a Boat.

The basic gameplay is the same: you match sword or staff tiles to attack monsters, keys to unlock chests, crates to find items, and other tiles to gather resources. Beyond this, there are a number of small changes that really improve the gameplay. For example, both you and the monsters you face can be endowed with buffs and debuffs for a variety of results.

You've also left the dungeon behind. Now you'll be traveling around the world, facing new challenges in every area. This creates a sense of progression that was missing before, and it also keeps things from getting stale as each area features its own set of quests, monsters, and treasures.

This was an excellent upgrade to the original, and it's definitely one for fans of 10,000,000 or Match 3s.

Pros

New upgrade system
In 10,000,000, you upgraded your abilities by first building additional rooms in your prison cell, and then buying upgrades from there. This time around, you need to complete quests to hire crewmembers, each of whom provides you with a different service.

One of the biggest benefits of this new system is that your resources remain relevant throughout the game. Instead of building up an endless supply of wood and stone, you'll gain "thought" and "power" points. These are used to recruit monsters that you've captured during the adventure. In turn, your hired monsters provide various benefits just by being around. Of course, some of the monsters you can hire aren't found normally, so some cleverness is needed to ferret them out.


Treasures change the rules in your favor
Every so often, you'll get a quest where you need to find a special item. These rarer treasures are hidden away in a huge box that you'll need to unlock by matching a fixed amount of tiles, and once you have them, the way the game works is permanently altered. For example, the first treasure you find, the Idol, enables tile multiplers. These cause the affected tiles to count as several tiles of the same type, which can make everything easier. Other examples include the various Lucky Coins, which tweak the randomization in your favor.


Explore the world
Unlike the first game, you're now exploring the world. Each area features its own themed background and set of monsters. Additionally, levels can feature modifiers that have various effects on the level's environments. For example, the "wanderers" modifier means that it's possible to encounter monsters from other areas of the game during the level, whereas levels with the "rich chests" modifier have more gold and loot in their chests than usual. Some modifiers, like "misty" or "dark", make it harder to see what's going on at the top of the screen, so you might end up trying to fight a chest or unlock a monster.


New Game + feature
After completing the game, you can talk to a specific NPC to start the adventure over again with a few changes. The "Ace" level is increased by one, making the game more difficult, and you're now able to play special daily challenges. If you're trying to collect every achievement, then you'll need to go through the game three times, as one of them can only be earned after beating the game twice.


Steam Achievements
Building a boat takes a lot of effort, even when you have various crewmembers and monsters helping you out. Thus, there are twelve achievements on offer, which range from milestones in your journey to difficult tasks to test your abilities. The hardest achievement to earn, as mentioned above, can only be earned during the third playthrough. Less than 4% of the game's owners have managed to complete such a feat; so do you think you can you beat those odds?


Cons

Do you really want to replay it?
The biggest problem with the first game was that it could easily get repetitive. This time around there's more to see, but you're still interacting with the world in the same way. Considering that it can take a few hours to reach the end of the game, you might find yourself getting board before you've played it through a second time.


Minor bugs
There's a chance that some events, like the tutorial text boxes or the final cutscene, won't trigger properly. It's just annoying when the text boxes malfunction, but if the final cutscene doesn't trigger right, then you'll be stuck as the game doesn't appear to know what to do next. Thankfully, the game's autosave feature saves the day -- just close the game and try starting the final cutscene again. It should work on the second try, without you losing or risking any progress.


Concerns and Issues

Mild violence
Like the previous game, there's a lot of fighting going on at the top of the screen, and again, this largely amounts to the combatant's sprites bumping together like a kid making their action figures "fight". There's no blood, and while the defeated monster's body is shown lying on the ground after the battle, it's more like a deflated balloon than an actual corpse.


Fantasy monsters and magic
Another thing this game has in common with 10,000,000 is that you'll be seeing a many different kinds of magic. The various monsters are one example, as most of them are drawn from various fantasy settings. Magic spells are another, and once again you'll be able to use magical attacks in combat using your staff.


Hell and references to gods
One of the new additions the ability to travel through many different areas. Most of these areas are fairly typical places for adventurers to try their luck, such as sewers, pyramids, treasure vaults, and a Japanese pagoda, but it also means you'll be making a stop in Hell. Like most popular depictions of the place, it's home to demons and other fiery monsters. You can even recruit the demon once you progress far enough.

On the flip side, in the latter half of the game you'll build a small chapel into your boat. The priest that runs the chapel will allow you to make offerings to the gods in return for their aid, though in my experience this seems to always make the next run harder and less lucrative.

On a final note, one of the treasures that aids you on your adventure is simply called "Idol". It appears to be a golden pair of boots with smiling faces, and by merely having it you'll gain the ability to use tile multiplers. Exactly what makes this statuette an idol is never explained, nor is it ever seen again once you collect it.


Alchemy replaced with drinking
Since you have crewmembers to aid you in your adventure, you don't need to worry about making the potions yourself. Instead, you hire a bartender who simply sets up a pub in the middle of your boat. Just like the potions in the first game, these magical brews have various positive and negative effects on future levels, though they wear off after a few rounds.