During arcade gaming’s prime, when titular characters were only made up of a handful of pixels, video game protagonists didn’t have all these fancy-shmancy gadgets to slice through mooks. Nowadays, taking on the final boss with a sword twice the length of your own virtual body is standard procedure, but there was, in fact, a time when we didn’t have all this hyper-phallic weaponry to swap, sell, and upgrade. Little Mac went into the ring with only his boxing gloves. Sonic had his ridiculous hair. And Pac-Man had one hell of a mouth.
Downwell pulls us down deep, all the way back to video game’s pixelated roots. You, our charmingly generic protagonist, don’t get a big-ass sword. You only need your own two shoes. But not since Mario finished scraping Goomba off the bottom of his soles has footwear proved to be so deadly.
I mean, they better pack a punch. You’re wearing ‘gunboots,’ for Christ’s sake. Your boots literally have guns attached to them.
Like the title suggests, you’re tasked with venturing down a massive well. Though the caverns hold untold treasures in the form of dazzling red gems, the platforms are crawling with hordes of nasty monsters. Cut through the darkness with a few lethal blasts from your trusty gunboots. Each shot is good for searing off enemy faces and slowing your descent. They also look ridiculously comfortable. And so stylish. What a deal.
But what’s the point of collecting riches if you can’t spend any of it? Track down the peculiar shopkeeper and swap your treasures for unique items and upgrades that’ll shake up the gameplay.
You’ll need new equipment if you want to stay on your toes. Each run is procedurely-generated, meaning no two wells are the same. Make sure your gunboots are strapped on tight before each new adventure. It’s a long way down.
Downwell is out now on Steam! You can also check out the trailer below.