Switch version tested
Available on mobile and Switch, a good game for once: Downwell. This arcade platformer is built around descending into a well. Avoid obstacles, fight enemies, and obtain upgrades to increase your chances of making it to the bottom. What’s at the bottom I wonder? I picked up this gem for $1.50 and can’t think of a better deal I’ve gotten in recent past.
Downwells art style is very NES inspired, opting for red, black, and white for the colour palette. Another pixel style game that does it RIGHT, with just enough to make it perfect and not overdone. It sounds odd using the term “pixel” for this game but that’s the best way I can describe Downwell. I don’t care for the term because it sounds like it could be a bad thing but Devolver did a great job. Any more details and it would be watered down.
As your character makes their way into the well, gems will be collected as currency. Shops will appear where those hard-earned gems can purchase additional health and ammunition. At the end of each run an experience meter appears. Each time the meter is full, a new colour palette is unlocked for the game. I’m not sure how many are available but it’s cool to swap between them and play the game in a different light. Gameboy and Virtual Boy are a couple examples of how the game can look and I love that.
Enemies vary from area to area in a refreshing way. Each run you will understand their movements and attacks, then use that to your advantage. A downward stomp attack can be performed that will bring a combo meter above your characters head. With a high enough kill count a reward will be given in gems, ammo, and health. Very helpful indeed. Different modes will be unlocked, one being a slower movement which is fruitful to achieve a high stomp combo.
This is the type of game that requires you to master each area and learn the hard way. Those hardships are rewarding with each progressing run. I felt encouraged each time I made a successful passage to a new area. Once I made it to the boss I was not going to put this game down until I beat it. Don’t think too hard about the end and you won’t end up in a bind like me. After a handful of runs to the boss I realized a silly mistake I was making then beat the game. It gave me that little rush we’re all looking for with victory and that brings this $1.50 gem to a close.
If you were lucky enough to have purchased this gem for the low price I did, then you’re lucky enough. The leaderboard showed people beating this game in eight minutes but for most people, it will high decent replayability with loads of runs. Definitely worth the sticker price, would recommend, and I enjoyed my time with Downwell.
TBG Score: 8/10
Platform: Steam, PS4, PSVita, Mobile, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 31/01/2019
No. of Players: 1
Category: Adventure, Shooter, Action, Arcade
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Download link: eShop