review
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POSTED 31/5/16


DOWNWELL

Moppin/Devolver Digital



Let me take you down...

Down, down, deeper and down into a well. Why? Umm, because it’s there? Or maybe because if you don’t go well-wards then Downwell’s rendered pretty much useless.

Created by a Japanese opera singer (even we couldn’t make that up), Downwell is a love letter to classic seemingly simple but strategically deep arcade games. Except that, unlike most other such creations, it doesn’t rip any of them off wholesale. Heck, some of those trailblazing coin gobblers might even turn their noses up at the three colours-only blockiness here. Fucking snobs!

Downwell reminds us a little of Mr Driller with a sprinkle of Boulderdash, crossed with a reversed vertical shmup crossed with any game that’s ever involved spelunking. Cool!

Basically you’re this guy – let’s call him Timmy - who leaps into a procedurally generated well, despite having an inkling that it’s monster infested. Other than your guile you have a rather handy helper in your trusty pair of ’gunboots’. Making even Docs look rather utilitarian, they have shooty-shooters built into them. These are handy for killing said monsters (as is jumping on some of them), and also for delaying your otherwise uncontrolled plummet downwards to the next level gate at the bottom.

Platforms – some shootable, some not - also help break your fall, as do ‘time bubbles’ which variously offer respite, bonuses and purchasable items. The first often being the handiest.

With just four main levels each divided into three, you may perceive brevity and scoff. Foolish Earthling! If you stuff up, you start at the beginning again, there’s no namby-pamby continue BS. But you’ll keep playing... You’ll also unlock different character styles, myriad colour schemes and various fleeting upgrades.

Downwell perfectly nails that itchy-nosed “just one more go” vibe of all the greatest arcade games. We’re sending our love down the well – hit it, Krusty and Sting!

take me back to the start...

 



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ALL WRITTEN CONTENT COPYRIGHT © AMY FLOWER 2008-2017. GAME IMAGES COURTESY OF RESPECTIVE GAMES COMPANIES.