Downwell is an interesting little title about a boy going down a well with only his gun-boots to protect him. I’ve heard a lot about Downwell over the years, and I think the main character is easily recognizable to those who’ve been around the block with indies over the last few years. Most recently Downwell was published by Devolver Digital on Switch, and it got a second wind of popularity.
Downwell’s basic gameplay sees you going down the well, shooting enemies, and collecting power-ups as you go. Perfect for picking up once every couple of days, and having a blast for a few minutes. Unfortunately, Downwell does not support long play-sessions well, which left sort of a poor taste in my mouth. I prefer to sit down and spend hours playing a game at a time. This definitely could go either way depending on your taste. The basic gameplay loop of Downwell hooked me well, even if it couldn’t keep for more than an hour at a time.
There’s not a lot to talk about with Downwell. No story to be found or plot to finished. Each level is procedurally generated. I often have mixed feelings when games go for rogue-like gameplay, but Downwell tackles it with style. The pick-up and play nature of Downwell is well suited for the randomized elements. I sometimes found myself feeling like the world just felt a bit too “robotic” for my taste, but only maybe 1 out of every 20 maps.
Downwell’s presentation sets it apart, in my head, from other classic indies. The game is only ever using three colors at any one time. There are unlockable palettes that can give you a fresh look, but I preferred the basic style above all else. Sound design gave me a hint of vague familiarity with crunches and pops that sound straight out of the arcade.
I really enjoyed my time with Downwell. The small price definitely makes it easier to swallow for anyone who is interested. Even if you only pick up a game or two a month on the eShop, you’ll have quite a few coins saved up, and using them on Downwell is not a bad idea. I’d have preferred things to go a little bit differently, but Downwell is most certainly worth playing in the modern day. I recommend you go search it out if you’ve never played it before. You can’t go wrong with Downwell.
Downwell was developed by Moppin
Available on Steam, iOS, Android, PS4, and Nintendo Switch
Available for $4.99 on PS4, and $2.99 on all other platforms
A review copy was bought by the reviewer
supiroguy has awarded Downwell The Indie Gamer Team Seal of Approval