Haven Review: Downwell

DownwellTitleFirst up is our disclaimer. We received this game for review purposes only, and as such all opinions in this review are our own. No money has been exchanged for this review.

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downwell intro scene

Highway to the bottom of the well.

It’s a long dark shaft that stretches far into the abyss. Everywhere there are gruesome monsters and convenience stores. Don’t question the logic too hard. After all, the player uses gun boots to cushion the fall and to kill monsters. Stomping on things also helps to beat the monsters, unless they’ve got spikes or are on fire. The more things killed in a row without touching solid ground grants a bigger bonus and unlocks an achievement. As gems are collected from rocks or fallen foes, a “gem-high” meter fills up. As long as gems are collected and kills are preformed, it will make the attacks a lot more powerful and potentially turn the player into a drunken fool when it runs out.

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Color palette unlock example.

Since the levels and power-ups are randomized, there is no telling what kind of power-up you might find. Laser beams, shotguns and food are examples. It’s very easy to control. You have left, right and jump, which also fires the guns when airborne. Between each level there are three random bonuses to choose from. Don’t question the logic of laser sights under your soles. After every four levels the player arrives at a new setting, with other enemies and different music. At the bottom there is a boss and after that there is a hard mode to unlock, which turns everything up to “11”! There are also a lot of challenges for achievement hunters. Due to the nature of the game, you will die a lot. Every enemy takes a tick of your precious life bar, which can be refilled though stores and pickups.

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downwell palette example

Each enemy you kill without landing increases the combo counter. Can you get to 100?

When dying in Downwell after taking too many hits, an experience gauge is filled and new color schemes and styles are unlocked. Each style provides different bonuses, while the palettes are your colors. Examples include green, blue and all grey. The graphics are simple and only have two colors at any given time. It’s the game I wish was on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) as I grew up. It’s fun, simple and extremely addictive. Did I mention that it’s dirt cheap on Steam? Music and sound effects have a good impact to them and fit in nicely. Though at times the music can be off key and a bit of an ear worm. Yet it’s instantly recognizable.

Downwell it’s addictive and fun, very much so. You have been warned. The controls are stupidly simple as well. Left right and jump, which also fire the gun boots when airborne.

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I hope it ends “well”.

 

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It’s essentially a very good time-sink that anyone can pick up and play. If you need more proof, take a look at my “first impressions” video:

Since the game is on Steam, I just have to provide a link.

http://store.steampowered.com/app/360740/

Check out this fine peddler of independent wares.

http://www.devolverdigital.com/

Incidentally, the development team made a home page for the game.

http://downwellgame.com/

Njål Sand