Lassie doesn’t need to save me from this well.
I had always heard people talk about how addicting Downwell was on their phones, but never actually played it. I’m not much of a mobile player, so it was always something I had heard of but never experienced. Now, after a successful run on the phones, it hits the PS4 and I finally get to try it out. Everyone was right. This game is really addictive.
Downwell is an endless runner of sorts. It feels like that at times, but other times it feels like a platformer with shooter mechanics thrown in. Players take on the role of a character that jumps down a well and his to dodge, shoot, and jump on enemies as he falls continuously. Players use the character’s feet as weapons to fire shots downward; they can also be used as a slow down/levitation device that can be used to maneuver as they fall. Landing on a platform or an enemy’s head will reload the gun shoes so they can keep firing. So it’s this balance of knowing when to stop falling, when to shoot and when to dodge enemies.
Platforms: PS4, Vita
Price I’d pay: $4.99
On top of the fast yet strategic game play, there is a rougelike upgrade and progression system. Each level has players finding new upgrades and perks to use that can buff the character with more health, different shoe weapons, and other special attributes. After dying, the player then starts back at the beginning of the game with all those perks lost. Luckily, it doesn’t take long to get back into the fray and the upgrades keep coming. Finishing off a level will also give the player a choice of a special perk to use.
Along the way, players will collect gems from the area or fallen enemies. Gems will be used to purchase more upgrades via shops found in each level, or they can hold onto them for an overall score after the run ends that can unlock new looks for the game itself and even new styles that change up the rules of the overall game. So there’s a profile progression involved as well.
Downwell is played best in spurts. While it is addicting and can keep players going for a while, it can get rather monotonous, especially when having to start over from the beginning each time. Along with that, the vertical nature of the game and the fact that it was originally a game that was played on the phone means that the screen on the TV is vertical and only takes up so much space. With a larger TV, it would be no issue, but on a smaller one, I can see how things can be cramped up a bit. Still, none of these are deal breakers.
Downwell is a $5 game that anyone can pick up and play and have a fun time with. It’s not a game you play hours on end, but definitely something that can be enjoyed for small chunks in between games, and for that cheap price, it fits right in with the entire rougelike nature of the game. It’s a small, fun, and easy addiction that many will really enjoy all for a cheap price.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.