Creature in the Well is a top down, pinball inspired dungeon crawler by developer Flight School. You play as a BOT-C unit, the last of its kind. Your mission is to restore power to an ancient weather facility to free the city of Mirage from a deadly sandstorm. However you are not alone in the mountain. A dark mysterious creature lurks in its depth stalking your every step, hell bent on stopping you from achieving your goal.
First off I want to say that the art style and graphics in this game are beautiful. It feels like you’re playing a work of art. The colour pallet for each room reflects its purpose. It’s not just cut and paste. A lot of time and effort went into making each space, each area of this game look unique.
Creature in the Well’s gameplay is best described as pinball, but with swords. You have two different weapons at your disposal. Charge Tools allow you to charge up the energy balls power and the strike tool lets you fire that ball of energy. My personal favourite combo is using the fan blade, which allows you to recharge energy from the balls, equipped with the baseball bat to hit a home run.
The puzzles, all be it simple, can be a task to complete. You must charge up an energy ball, then bounce and ricochet them into a dormant pieces of machinery. This earns you energy points which you can use to unlock doors within the mountain or upgrade your Bot core in Danielle’s hut. Along the way you can unlock secret chambers filled with 20 unique items from upgradable weapons and clothing that will customise your playstyle.
There are eight hand crafted dungeon levels to explore, each with its own purpose to the running of the facility. The achieves, Atmospheric Analysis, Synchronous Field, North Star Conduit, The Power grid, Lockdown Systems, and Power Reserves. At the end of every level you are confronted by the creature. It pulls you down and starts to attack you while you solve 3 puzzles to bring you back to the surface again. These boss battles (as you will) are uniquely challenging to each level. The north star conduit and Synchronous Field boss battles in particular were very challenging.
However, frustrating and challenging levels aside, the mix of puzzle based dungeon crawling and pinball style action had me hooked and left me feeling satisfied with the overall game play.
The music of Creature in the Well fits the game perfectly. From the ominous loop of the game menu and the slow piano of the city, to the mysterious electro synth of the mountain, the music is on par for the feeling of mystery and the science fiction tone.
The sound design (while very little) is subtle and unique. Outside the mountain you hear the breeze of the sandstorm looming around you giving you that feeling of wide open space. Inside the mountain a low echoey hum encapsulating the feeling of confinement.
Creature in the well is a blast to play. If you loved playing on the pinball machines in arcades then you’re going to love this. Its dynamic art style, music and unique game play make this game enjoyable to play. The only let down is that of tedious and often frustrating encounters with the creature.
Creature in the Well gets a 9 out of 10.
The game is available on September 6th 2019 on Xbox one (free for game pass owners), Windows 10, switch and Steam for the price of £12.49 and is developed and Published by Flight School Studio