Review – Creature in the Well

Overview

Developer Flight School Studio
Publisher Flight School Studio
Genre Adventure, Dungeon Crawler, Puzzle, Pinball
Platforms PC (reviewed), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date September 6, 2019

Title card

Creature in the Well piqued my interest the moment I saw its trailer, because the game combines hack-and-slash, dungeon crawl gameplay  with pinball. It’s hard to find an arcade that has a good selection of pinball machines these days, which is disappointing, and while there have been some pinball video games, none are as unique as Creature in the Well. Creature in the Well really does a good job of making a game that has minimal violence, but still is intriguing enough to keep me playing through it. I wish the plot of the game kept up with the game, but it fails to explain the world of the game.

Content Guide

Creature in the Well has an E for Everyone rating due to mild violence. The game contains no questionable content and very little violence. The violence in the game consists of the players robot hitting a ball to destroy some other machines or robots. I would recommend the game to teens and above only because of the difficulty of the puzzles.

The Creature blocks the way.

Review

I enjoyed playing Creature in the Well which was I enjoyed playing Creature in the Well, which was a really good game for short play sessions when I could only play for a few minutes. The story of the game centers around a tall, lanky robot who awakens in a desert settlement which has lost power. The game gives the player a lot of text to read at the beginning, which was unfortunate because none of it really helped me understand the plot. My biggest disappointment with the game is the plot, or lack thereof. I know that the settlement is out of power, and I as the player need to restore the power, but that’s it. Exploring the power plant—which is referred to as a temple in the game—I found that there was a creature somewhere deep in the plant which had something to do with the power outage, and whose eyes follow the player from the depths, but I didn’t ever understand why because the plot was so flimsy and nothing was ever really explained.

Unlocking a room in the dungeon.

Gameplay for Creature in the Well mixes dungeon crawling with pinball and puzzles. The player uses two tools to charge up and then hit balls of energy around the rooms in the dungeons. The first tool which is used to charge up the balls can be a fan, branch, or sword, and the second tool lets the player hit the ball into bumpers in the room, transferring the energy built up into the bumper. The second tool could be a bat, pipe, or time-slowing hammer. Once the bumper fills up, that triggers an event in the room such as another bumper, a door, or an energy collector which helps the player build up more energy. The energy the player gathers helps power up the machinery and doors in the dungeon. There’s a bit of power management as each door or machine requires different amounts of energy. The player can go back to any room in the dungeon to collect more energy if needed. Unlike normal pinball, the player can move the robot around in the room, which allows the player to choose angles and shots in order to complete the puzzle. Sometimes there are timers on the bumper which have to be filled up before time runs out or the room resets itself.

The entrance to the temple (power plant).

The player’s robot has a health bar that gets depleted by cannons or trap bumpers which emit a damaging blast when hit with a shot. Once the players health bar is fully depleted the Creature snatches the robot up and throws him out of the dungeon through a well in the nearby town. The player will have to travel through the dungeon again to get back to where they died which I found boring, but once you reach the boss of the dungeon a portal at the entrance of the dungeon will take the player straight to the boss. This progress-saving feature distinguishes the game from rogue-likes, which I found refreshing since I get tired of having to repeat levels over and over again.

Gameplay

Creature in the Well features cell-shaded animation with bold bright colors and angular art. The bold colors really set each dungeon apart, because every one is shaded in a two-color palette. The player doesn’t control the camera in the game, but that doesn’t mean that the camera is fixed. The camera moves and changes angles as the player moves from room to room. When the player moves down a hallway the camera may move around behind the player or to an opposite angle, and it is in an almost perfect angle in every room in the game. Overall, the game creates very fun and spooky looking dungeons.

The music and sound effects in Creature in the Well sound good, but the music is limited so it got repetitive quickly. I wish there had been some voice-over or even some sound effect when speaking to the characters in the dungeons and town. I found that reading text in silence was distracting because I would often drift off the text or skip it entirely.

Merchant in the town.

Creature in the Well finds a great way to combine pinball and dungeon crawling in a fun and engaging way. The style of the animation was fun and spooky, and the whole feel of the world is engaging. It’s a shame that I didn’t feel like I understood the plot or the motivations of the game, and I also would have appreciated more music. Regardless, Creature in the Well is a game that would be great for anyone who likes quirky, unique puzzle/adventure games.

The Bottom Line

 

Creature in the Well combines unique fun gameplay from pinball and dungeon crawlers, but it's plot is lackluster and the music is repetitive.

 

7.0

E.L. Wilson

I am a follower of Christ, a loving husband, and a Geek Dad. Colorado is my home where I live with my family and write for Geeks Under Grace. I also have my own writing projects at https://kingoncaleyblog.wordpress.com. Video games have been my passion and my hobby for many years, and I have followed the video game industry since my first issue of Nintendo Power in 1985. I steaming every Sunday afternoon with my kids at https://www.twitch.tv/tinraven.

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