Creature in the Well is a top-down, pinball-inspired, hack-and-slash dungeon crawler. As the last remaining BOT-C unit, venture deep into a desert mountain to restore power to an ancient facility, haunted by a desperate Creature. Uncover and upgrade powerful gear in order to free the city of Mirage from a deadly sandstorm.
Creature in the Well has a very simple premise for a game that packs a huge punch in game play. You play as the last remaining BOT-C unit, thought to be long extinct, attempting to bring back power to an old city where BOT-C use to maintain- both you and the city you’re trying to revive are relics of the past. Naturally a very nasty monster has made it’s home in this ancient city (Think Smaug for you Tolkien fans) and is not pleased that youre running around making its home all active again.
The demo didnt speak much of the plot for Create in the Well, it wasnt explained as to why you’re the only remaining BOT-C unit, why you’re active, and why you’re set on powering up an acient city. Nor is it explained why that creeper of a monster moved into the ancient city and why it wants to say (does it matter though? Its not like you can go ask the antagonist to simply leave because it’s being an inconvenience) Creature in the Well’s demo doesnt provide a pleathora of insight on the story of the game, but instead gives you the foundation of at least understanding who the character’s are and what is their objective. As to why they have objectives, I can hope that those plot holes will be filled in as players progress in the game.
Otherwise, if Creature in the Well keeps the story simple- without deeper explanation- I fear that the plot will be the weakest part of the game. However, a simple plot line doesnt not mean a failure- Creature in the Well may have decided on a simple story so it does not over shadow the real star of the game: the game play
I love pinball, Im not good at it, but I love it. When Rollers of the Realms dropped, I sunk a disgusting amount of hours playing it. Naturally, when I heard a new pinabll inspired game was dropping, I really wanted to check out Creature in the Well. I was not entirely sure what to expect, as Rollers of the Realm did keep with the true pinball level design and the characters were balls used to clear levels with varying powers depending on their class. Creature in the Well takes the pinball video game format (that Roller of the Realm had) and shakes it up, modernizing video pinball game play…and it’s such a good change to the game play.
Instead of players taking the normal position at the bottom of the screen, controlling flippers, you control your BOT-C unit and move around the level freely. Your Bot-C unit is the pinball flipper- he is the component that whacks the ball but has free range of movement to do so. Creature in the Well adds layers to pinball play by making it 16-directional versus a stationary positioning.
Your BOT-C Unit can equip itself with a number of weapons, generally the weapons will have some kind of power up that effects how your BOT-C Unit collects balls, hits the ball, ect. In the demo I was equipped with standard pipe that hits balls in a standard fashion and a flashy red sword. My sword allowed for my BOT-C unit to not only hit balls harder and faster, but if I held down it’s attack button, it also stopped balls -I could gather up to 4- and then *charge* the ball to unleash a powerful attack.
The level designs really leverage the game play and vice verse. Generally, players enter a room where your BOT-C Unit has to power up vessels (these are the score bumpers) in order to clear the room. In order to power up the vessels, players need to hit balls of energy at the vessels- hence the pinball mechanic. However, not all levels are that easy. Sometimes the level fights back- security systems will go off and try to attack your BOT-C unit, which makes for a layered and complex game play.
Not only are you playing 16 directional pinball, but you have to dodge lazer beams, be mindful that you’re not standing in a trap, all the while trying to hit the objectives to clear the level. It sounds like a lot- and it is a lot- but Creature in the Well manages to balance all these items wonderfully. Not at any point did I feel over whelm about the mechanics, I was introduced to each portion of the mechanics and given enough time to understand the functionality. By the time the boss fight came around, I felt very accomplished as I was smacking energy balls, catching them and powering them up with my sword, dodging enemy blasts and explosives… I felt really powerful and I dare say….smart? There’s something really satisfying about not only figuring out enemy patterns, but being able to capitalize on an opening
I see what you did there, Creature in the Well- you just made a Bloodbourne Pinball and I like it
Creature in the Well’s graphic design is a rugged animation and it fits the story of the game so well. Everything about the game is future like, but clearly aged and word down. The gritty animation style conveys to players that they’re about step into a world that is decaying rapidly. I very much enjoy the art direction of the game, its chunky without being clunky (pardon the terrible rhyming, but hey) to clarify, it reminds me a lot of Hyperlight Drifter but a clearer depiction that moves fluidly.
The world has lots of rigged textures showing the players that the environment is mechanically inspired and the world has been massively industrialized. The color palette compliments the same industrial tone. The levels and environments use neutral colors, the type you’ll find in any corporate building, and the pops of color are the characters themselves; visual reminders that there are living, sentient things, in a dying landscape. Even then, your BOT-C Unit is a fairly drab color, but it’s pop of red – the cape- indicates that BOT-C is an important character to the audience. Art direction and graphics fpr Create in the Well are top notch, making it a unique visual experience
If you’re at Pax West, you have to stop by at Creature in the Well- you will not be let down. You’ll only disappointed that the demo is over and that there arent any more levels for you to play.
Creature in the Well is available 9/6/19 for Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and Steam