(This is another one of my reviews that I found on my old Tumblr page. It’s a little rough around the edges, but still a good read.)
Downwell for iOS and My 2 Cents:
Ok. I wasn’t going to write about Downwell because I’m sure people are probably sick of hearing me talk about it, but I just wanted to at least give “My 2 Cents” on the game.
The first thing everybody is probably going to notice is the visual style. To be honest, when I first saw the screenshots awhile ago, I wasn’t impressed. I absolutely love pixel art, but I’m weird about it. I can really love a game just because of the pixel art and it can also make me not like the game because of it. I know, I’m weird. It’s hard to explain.
Once you start playing Downwell, you end up loving the artwork. The little details that are added, the homage to old school NES games, it’s all there. You find little things like changing the color palette so rewarding. (Back to that later.)
The premise of the game is your character is falling down a well. I won’t get into story details or anything. That’s a pet peeve of mine. I’d rather find out the story for myself in games. I kind of like going in blind when I start a game.
Anyway, so I guess you could call it a “downward platformer/shooter/roguelike”? I don’t know, but the object is to get to the bottom of each level while shooting enemies and parts of the well with your “GunBoots”. Yes, GunBoots. They are pretty self explanatory. During your travels down the well, you will pick up gems, find secret rooms and stop at little stores to buy power-ups to help you along your way. In between each level, you are given a choice out of 3 upgrades for the rest of your run. The cool thing is that these upgrades can all be stacked in different ways depending on your run. So each run is totally different. Also, I should add that once you die, you start over from the beginning again, so it’s all about stacking the perfect upgrades and trying not to get hit (obviously).
That’s one thing I like about this game is that no two runs are the same. The levels are procedurally generated. So add that to all the different upgrades you can stack and it’s like a new game each run. The other thing that’s cool is the gems that you collect are added up at the end up each run and once you collect enough, you are rewarded with different (permanent) game styles and color palettes. I won’t go into detail on the color palettes or game styles either. Some of them are a pretty cool surprise.
As far as controls go, they’ve worked perfect for me. You have a left button, right button, and your shoot button. It can get a little frustrating during the harder levels with your character traveling downward and your thumbs at the bottom of the screen working the controls sd your thumbs will block things once in a while. I’m not sure if having the controls at the top of the screen would be the quick fix or not. It seems like it would be a little awkward holding the device there. Other than that, the controls work great!
Oh, and the soundtrack is really good by the way. Beautiful chip tune music that really brings out the nostalgic feel to the game.
I’ve had a blasty blast with Downwell so far. It’s easily my GOTW for sure. I’d have no problem recommending this game to anybody that’s a fan of shooters or platformers.
Well, that’s My 2 Cents………