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All Thumbsticks Game Review: Downwell

Updated: Jun 9, 2022

Okay, here’s a confessional. I’m a sucker for rogue-like games. Every randomly generated level, every little gameplay mechanic that players will try to use that can be exploited, used creatively, any weapon or rare drops to fire off, whatever the game designers and programmers throw in there for fun’s sake. The randomly generated aspect provides players with hours of content by design. Devolver Digital did it again by publishing Downwell. It’s a simple- yet fun- pixel rogue-like that pulls away from any added fluff and gets to the heart of the matter; fall deep into a well while blasting bullets at enemies from your boots.

Downwell is a pixel rogue-like platform game developed by Ojiro “Moppin” Fumoto and published by Devolver games. While this “simple mobile phone game” may look easy, it is an addictive and hard game to master.

Gameplay for Downwell is the basics; movement keys to move and space bar to use to your gun. When you are out of ammo, you can bounce on enemies or hit the ground to reload. Though, there are two forms enemies- white on red or pure red. When you defeat enemies, you collect gems that get counted after each level or when you die. When you reach specific gem milestones, you can gain different palette styles and gameplay changes, from switch the red, white, and black to original GameBoy colors or shades of blue to having more starting health at the cost of losing the in-game shop.

The thing that will get you about Downwell is the momentum you build. As the main focus is to fall deeper and deeper into the Well until you ultimately reach the bottom, the goal is to fall to the next level, building up your combo until you reach the next level or until you die. Platforms are placed in the middle of the stages just in case you need to reload at the cost of losing your combo.

I was able to get the PC version and played it for a few hours in increments. While I enjoyed my runs down the well, I have to say that it is a tad clunky with PC controls. This was a given as it really feels like a phone game than a computer game. Though, it ran smoothly on my semi-old PC which is a real blessing.

All in all, if you want to get a cheap game on a budget with a ton of replayability, Downwell is the game to buy. Get it on the go if you need to distract yourself on the bus or when you need to have a little time to yourself, look no further than this little gem.

Downwell is rated E 10+ for ages 10 and up and available on iOS, Android, PC, Playstation 4, and Nintendo Switch for $2.99.

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