Go­ing down, gunboots blaz­ing

Mac Format - - RATED -

£2.29 De­vel­oper GHI Me­dia, down­well­

Works with iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Version 1.0.2

Downwell starts as a fun but tough game as you blast en­e­mies with your gunboots, inch­ing a lit­tle fur­ther down the well each time be­fore the demons get you. Then you re­alise your gunboots aren’t just weapons, but ex­plo­sive air brakes. You shoot less, bounce more, and chain to­gether in­creas­ingly au­da­cious com­bos.

Downwell is a mas­ter­class in de­sign, crisp aes­thet­ics and crunchy feed­back. Like Spelunky – with which it also shares a com­poser – it’s full of dis­cov­er­ies and choices, where ev­ery weapon is po­ten­tially dou­bleedged. Will you sac­ri­fice your laser beam for health? Feast on enemy corpses? Turn bul­let cas­ings back into bul­lets? The ran­domised level de­sign and dis­tri­bu­tion of power‑ups forces you to mas­ter ev­ery weapon and strat­egy to sur­vive.

There’s al­ways a new way to play, and even if you some­how reach the bot­tom there are high scores and speed runs to chase. It’s a bot­tom­less well of pos­si­bil­i­ties. Alan Wil­liamson

Not just an­other pre­ten­tious pixel art plat­former: it’s one of the best games of the year, on any de­vice.

Be­neath the deceptively sim­ple vi­su­als lies a deep and fiendishly hard game.

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