Downwell last edited by MaxxCanti on 09/13/18 04:48PM View full history

Overview

Downwell is an action game inspired by classic arcade games and roguelikes. It is playable on iOS devices (iPhone and iPad), Android devices, Macs, and PCs. It was created by Japanese indie developer Ojiro Fumoto, otherwise known as Moppin, and published by Devolver Digital. The goal is for the player to make it as far down the titular, monster-filled well as possible, while defeating enemies with their gun-equipped boots. The vertically scrolling game is separated into four zones, each of which house three randomly generated levels.

Gameplay

Downwell is a two-dimensional, vertically scrolling platforming game that requires players to venture as deep into the well as they can. It is played with two directional buttons (right and left) and a button that controls both jumping and shooting. Once in the air, the player can fire their gunboots. The gunboots can damage enemies, destroy certain blocks, and can propel the player upwards by a small amount. Gunboot ammo is limited, but can be refilled when the player lands on solid ground, an enemy, or destructible objects like torches. The weapon type can be changed through randomly generated power-ups, which can also grant the player extra health or upgrades to maximum ammo (known as "charge"). Upon completion of a level, the player is presented with a random choice of perks, most of which give the player new ways to damage enemies or defend themselves.

If the player dies, they are then sent back to the beginning of the game, with a new set of randomly generated levels.

Combo System

If the player kills multiple enemies without touching solid ground, they can string together a combo of kills which can yield different rewards.

  • Combos of eight or more kills are rewarded with 100 gems.
  • Combos of 15 or more kills are rewarded with +1 charge
  • Combos of 25 or more kills are rewarded with +1 health.

Combo rewards stack, so a combo of 26 will yield +1 health, +1 charge, and 100 gems.

Safe Zones

Levels will randomly spawn with at least two safe zones, which are guarded by a time-altering bubble (once in the bubble, time freezes for everyone except the player). Safe zones are areas separate from the main level, and can contain either weapon upgrades, shops, or piles of gems. The player retains their combo in a safe zone, even while on solid ground, so their combo can resume once back in the main level.

Shops

Players can spend their gems in shops, which are contained in random safe zones. Their presence is marked with a sign right outside its safe zone. Shops contain three random items, all of which will grant the player more charge or health. With each passing region, items become more and more expensive. A shop is always present right before the final boss.

Unlockable Color Palettes

Upon the player's death, the gems they accumulated are added to a persistent gem total. When the total reaches certain amounts, the player is rewarded with alternate color palettes, which swap the game's red, black, and white with different colors. Some color schemes are meant to emulate the looks of consoles like the original Game Boy or the Virtual Boy.

Play Styles

In addition to unlocking color palettes, the player will also unlock different play styles. They have varying effects on factors like safe zones and maximum health. Each play style features a different running animation.

Usual Style - default style

Arm Spin Style - only finds gun modules, shops are rare

Boulder Style - starts with more health, less upgrade options

Levitate Style - falls slower

Handstand Style - no upgrades, cheaper shop items

Soundtrack

Downwell features a chiptune soundtrack, designed to invoke the sounds of older consoles like the NES and the Game Boy. It was composed by sound designer Eirik Suhrke, who also composed music for games like Gunbrick, Spelunky, and Super Crate Box. It is available for purchase here, and also includes arrangements of Downwell music not heard in-game.

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