Creature in the Well Review
Reviewed on Sony PlayStation 4
It is a too infrequent occurrence that you come across a game that is truly unique. Most things are a tweaked re-hash or clone of something else and don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. Not every game can be unique but if there's one thing that I value more than anything else in gaming, it is a new style of game, that fresh feeling of something unknown and innovative.
Creature in the Well is one of those games, I had seen trailers and kept my eye on it from afar but now it has arrived on PlayStation 4 and I could not wait to jump in. The best way I can describe it is, a dungeon-crawling RPG with baseball and pinball based challenges. This description alone though does not do it justice or show how fun it is and how much enjoyment I got from playing this amazing little game. I literally became a cyborg Babe Ruth.
Much like Yoku's Island Express, which I also adored, Creature in the Well blends a well-known genre of game and places a niche, new gameplay mechanic, smack on top of it. Like a clever, genre-defying sandwich. The results are fresh, brilliant and I did not want it to end. Everything about this game feels original, new and very well thought out. It also has a great art style and soundtrack to match.
In Creature in the Well you play the last remaining BOT-C unit, the machine you have looked after for many years has become run down and after all this time, you are the only employee left. You must fight your way through security systems, face many challenges and discover the secrets of the Creature in the Well. Hopefully, in the end, you can restore the machine to its former glory.
The core gameplay loop is simple yet entertaining. This massive juggernaut of a machine must have all its systems turned back on. To do this you must traverse each part of its innards and re-activate it accordingly. Each room usually contains a pinball-style puzzle for you to negotiate. At its simplest, it is as easy as swinging your sword at glowing balls then firing them off at switches, bumpers and enemies.
However, how Creature in the Well builds on this simple mechanic is exceptional. Rooms get more complex, you can unlock new upgrades and weapons for different functions and you must dodge lasers and other hazards. Each layout, room and dungeon was a joy to navigate and it is joyous to track down all its secrets. Navigation is simple, as is keeping track of what you need to find and collect due to the games great design choices.
Even when you die, you can run quickly back through dungeons to get back to where you were, this makes backtracking and exploring fun and rewarding. This paired with a great map that shows what you are missing in each dungeon gives the whole game a simple yet fun feel to see and collect everything the game has to offer. I got the platinum trophy in about 6 and a half hours and loved every minute.
Too many games these days don't keep track of your objectives or collectables well enough, meaning if you want to find everything you have to resort to looking up stuff online. Creature in the Well was amazing in this department, it kept track of each dungeon, what I was missing and what was required. Its amazing game design and the developers need to be commended for that.
It's the same with the trophy list, too many games artificially bloat their games with weird and grindy trophies. Not Creature in the Well though, after the credits rolled I had a few fun small extra tasks to do and a few missing collectables that I found without any assistance from Mr Google. Again, its great game design that needs to be applauded.
Each room and puzzle is a ballet of light and sound, if you like pinball tables as I do, you will understand what I mean. When you complete each room a generator pops out for you to strike and gain more energy, I never got bored of activating it by smashing glowing orbs at it and listening to them bouncing off it in unison. The sights, sounds and gameplay all blend together into something really moreish and its glorious.
Creature in the Wells art style is gritty and beautiful. It reminds me of Hyper Light Drifter, with its run-down tech and futuristic architecture. The pixel art is lovely and everything is really pleasing to look at. Pixel art is a bit overused these days but Creature in the Well used the style superbly. The soundtrack is also great, it matches the style of the game perfectly and provides a fitting soundtrack to your exploits into the well.
Creature in the Well game also performed perfectly on a technical level. I never had a single issue while playing and it was so refreshing. No crashes, no bugs and no issues made making my way through this brilliantly designed world a pleasure. In a world of bug-ridden and rushed games, this was a brilliant experience. Sometimes this is an overlooked part of game design these days and games are worse for it, unfortunately.
- Beautiful art style
- Well designed
- Fun and rewarding gameplay
- A fun platinum with well designed trophies and collectables
- I did not want it to end and it did