capt_blakhelm's Downwell (PC) review

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An excellent action Rogue-lite that is ultimately too hard for me.

Downwell is a dastardly hard platforming shmup rogue-lite.

Instead of heading left-to-right shooting enemies in your way, you're tumbling down a seemingly endless well with platforms, enemies, hazards, and holes in the wall that contain weapons, gems, or shops with only the ability to run, jump, and multi-jump while shooting shots directly below you. Enemies, objects, and gem blocks drop gems that can be used purchase items and upgrades at stores and count to your overall score. Downwell communicates in a visual style of only three colors, black, white, and red. Black being used for the background and sprite detail, white being the main color of objects and enemies, and red being the color of gems or hazards. So for example, an enemy that is white can be jumped on or shot at, but can hurt you if you touch them. A red enemy will hurt you if you touch them, but can be shot. A enemy with both can be touched on the white part of their body. This color pallete can be changed to a variety of sets that are unlocked as you lose runs and accrue points based on your gems over time.

You have low health, and a few options for your character style, such as a player with floater jumps, or a player with more health, but less upgrade options upon ending a level. After ending a level, you're usually given three choices of upgrades (more or less depending on your Style or upgrades) such as health refills, an extra jump when you run out of charges, the ability to heal by eating the bodies of enemies, or extra upgrade choices in future level completions. Caves found on either side of the well can contain piles of gems, shops, or a new weapon that will change your weapon as well as either heal you or upgrade your charges by a point or two.

Downwell is both easy to understand and hard to complete.

Most enemies are easy to kill and controls are fluid and responsive enough to blame you exclusively for failure. But you also have low health, extremely rare chances to upgrade health (every time I saw Curry to increase my health, i was short one or two hundred gems) and little room for error as touching an enemy on the part of it that can hurt you, vs it's weak spot, or being swarmed by enemies where a red enemy will hurt you right as you run out of shots to hurt it and jump to avoid it. Add to that, healing is infrequent and I found alot of my deaths due to being hammered by bad moments all at ounce, and this game is really tough. I've played for 7 hours total and I've only maybe had one run that gets past the second, Catacomb world (the Caverns?). Downwell is extremely fun to play, but this lack of progress for such a long time keeps me from wanting to finish. Oh, and there is apparently a hard mode since this game is apparently not hard enough for some people.

Downwell is an excellent and novel rogue-lite, but expect frustration if you don't have perfect execution.

Other reviews for Downwell (PC)

    A little game with a surprising amount of depth, challenge and fun. 0

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked up Downwell for $3.49; it looked fine enough for a cheap game, and it appeared to be an arcade-like fling that would make for some quick fun in the same vein as Luftrausers. I certainly wasn't expecting a fast, challenging twitch shooter that has a surprising amount of depth for a game about falling down a hole while firing off gunboots. If gunboots doesn't have you sold right away, I'm not sure anything else will.This is the story about a boy's terrib...

    3 out of 3 found this review helpful.


    Great game with a great price. Super addictive and has qualities that are reminiscent of Spelunky. You can't go wrong with this one. The multiple styles and color palettes awarded change the game up and the random gun boot drops will have you constantly changing the ways in which you play. ...

    1 out of 1 found this review helpful.

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