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
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
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!