Game: Creature in the Well
Platform: Xbox One
Developer: Flight School Studio
Creature in the Well could very well be the most unique game I have ever played.
Creature in the Well comes from Flight School Studio, a studio apparently not far from where I am writing this review actually, in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas, TX. This studio is made up of an eclectic collection of creators and artists that has Academy, Emmy, Annie, Cannes Lion and Lumiere Award winners among the group according to their website.
With a pedigree like this, it is easy to see why Creature in the Well makes such a strong impression.
I will say the game’s art style, which has sort of a graphic novel feel infused with pastel colors and dark shadows, looks absolutely terrific in motion. Still images do not do justice to the art style, you must see the game in motion for yourself in all it’s glory.
The art along with the gameplay is what truly puts this game on another level with it’s unique combination of dungeon-crawler hack-and-slash and pinball.
I know this is somewhat hard to imagine, I didn’t fully wrap my head around it until I started playing the game for myself. It doesn’t take long to get used to and then you are off to explore each of the game’s levels.
In Creature in the Well, you take control of the last remaining BOT-C that is supposed to restore power to the facility that you will be exploring in order to clear a sandstorm that engulfs the area. When the game starts, you have to learn a few things for yourself as some things are not spelled out to you. One such thing that initially tripped me up is how to heal, once you figure it out it will seem obvious but again it is not explicitly told to the player.
Contained within each of the 8 dungeons in the game, are many secrets such as new capes for your Bot as well as additional weapons. Some of these weapons offer perks such as granting the ability to have a laser sight in order to better line up shots or even a weapon that will heal you when catching a charged orb.
If it wasn’t obvious by now, I loved my time with Creature in the Well and I did eventually get 100% completion in about 6 hours and 45 minutes. Though to be fair, there were two items that I have to admit to looking up where to find them. I do not believe I would have ever found these on my own. This is actually one of my only complaints about the game.
I feel I must also relay to you the two words that were the bane of my existence while playing this game:
By far the most difficult level in the game in my opinion, Synchronous Field was very unforgiving, more so than even the finale of the game. I actually had many times where I had to set the game aside for days at a time between marathon sessions of failing to complete the boss fight in this level.
Eventually I triumphed, partly because my improved skills as I attempted the brutal boss fight over and over and partly because of sheer luck of the bounce of my orb. As my bot collapsed, the dreaded death animation started playing out as my ball cleared the last bumper. The words “the creature withdraws” appeared on the screen. As I made the long walk back to the level, contemplating having to attempt this fight one last time, I was greeted by a completed boss level. Somehow the completion had counted.
In death, I had done what I could not do in life.
With my minor nitpicks out of the way, I can’t recommend this game enough, pick it up on whatever platform you can. While I played the Xbox One version for this review, the game is also available on Nintendo Switch as well as PC via Steam.
Great art style, vibrant colors in a graphic novel style
18 out of 20
Sound in the game is great, whether it is the clang of the balls bouncing into bumpers or the music which ramps up it’s intensity with boss fights.
17 out of 20
There is something so satisfying about the gameplay once it really clicks, you will be able to pull off some amazing feats once that happens.
19 out of 20
Levels can be replayed in the event that you did not find all the secret items or power up all the power wells that can be found in each level. Once all items are found there is not much more to do, but I will definitely replay this game in the future.
18 out of 20
This is one of my favorite games of 2019, for $15 this game is so worth your time.
18 out of 20
90 out of 100
The links for the store pages for Creature in the Well are below if you are interested in checking it out: