Downwell Review

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Posted: 2 weeks ago.

Author: Andy Robertson.

OverviewOverview

Downwell is a vertically scrolling platform game where you frantically shoot snail-like enemies to gain points and upgrades. You will die frequently, but that's part of the fun. Each go, you have a chance to learn from what went wrong last time as you hone not only you reactions but your knowledge of how the game works.

You play Welltaro who decides to explore the depths of the well in a local park. He finds monsters lurking and straps on his gun-boots to start his trip downwards. You kill enemies with three basic controls: left and right movement, jump, fire down while jumping. These unusually simple control scheme matches the stripped back visuals that are made of just three colours. The art style draws on the games Spelunky, Cave Story and Rick Dangerous before them.

The well is different each time you play but you always find an increasingly difficult set of enemies, most of which can either be shot with or stomped on. Later on you meet foes who are resistant to being stomped and can only be killed with bullets. During the descent, you can find time pausing "timevoids", which often lead to caves that provide a large amount of gems, or alternate weapons. After each set of three levels you get a choice of three upgrades for the next challenge. You can also buy ammo upgrades or shop purchases.

On the Switch and PlayStation Vita version of the game you can play in portrait mode which enables the screen to match the orientation of the deep well and enhances the experience considerably.

DetailsDetails

Rating: PEGI 7+, ESRB EVERYONE 10+

Release Date: 15/10/2015

Platforms: Android, Nintendo Switch, PC, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita.

Genres: Action, Platform and Shooting.

 

CommitmentCommitment

Duration: This game will take between 7 hours and 9 hours to complete. Although it will take upwards of 30 hours to really master the game.
 
Players: This is a single player game.

CostsCosts

Does not offer in-game purchases, 'loot boxes' or 'battle/season passes'.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Rated PEGI 7+ for violence that lacks any apparent harm or injury to fantasy creatures. As players move vertically down a well, they shoot fantasy creatures with bullets from their boots. The final boss is a big fantasy character that explodes upon death. Graphics are very pixelated, toning down the impact of the overall violence.

ESRB EVERYONE 10+ for fantasy violence and mild blood.

AccessibilityAccessibility

You can alter the colour pallet but only when you have unlocked that feature.

Reading

How much reading or listening comprehension is required, and how accessible this is.

No Reading: No reading is required.

High Text Contrast: Text colour contrasts to background.

Any spoken content has subtitles: All spoken content has subtitles, or there is no speech in the game.

Controls

How you control the game, different options for alternative inputs and whether you can remap these settings to suit your needs.

1 Button & Single Stick: Can play with button and stick.

Keyboard Alone: Can play with just the keyboard.

Two Taps Targeted: Play with touchscreen, two simultaneous taps in specific locations.

Image

How you can adjust the visuals to suit your needs, and offer additional information if you can't hear the game.

Bright Colourful Palette: Game uses bright colours and is generally high contrast.

Colourblind friendly: Game doesn’t rely on colour or can switch to colourblind friendly mode.

Audio

How you can adjust the audio of the game and whether audio cues compensate for aspects of the game that are hard to see.

Play Without Hearing: No audio cues are necessary to play the game well

System Settings

Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. Nintendo Switch has some built-in features, including a lockable zoom, that can be used on all games. Windows has extensive accessibility features. Some, like colour correction, work with games. Lots of accessibility software can be used with PC games, from voice recognition to input device emulators. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping)... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: @JonahMonaghan


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Games Like Downwell

The following games are like Downwell. They address a similar topic or offer a similar way to play. They are good options to play next and also good alternatives to Downwell for younger age ratings.

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