XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - RE­BECCA STOW

Mix­ing two awe­some things to­gether doesn’t al­ways pay off. Eat­ing a de­li­cious burger? Adding a dol­lop of choco­late ice cream won’t do the meal any favours. And it’s the same with gam­ing; there are some gen­res that just don’t mesh well. But if you think that dun­geon-crawlers and pin­ball ma­chines couldn’t and shouldn’t be fused to­gether, Crea­ture In The Well aims to prove you wrong.

Fire up the game and you’ll find our plucky robot hero BOT-C lost in a sand­storm. Lost, that is, un­til he stum­bles upon a lonely town. With the res­i­dents out of power and iso­lated from the rest of the world, he de­cides to help. As one of the last en­gi­neer bots, BOT-C re­solves to re­store power to the nearby fa­cil­ity, re­turn­ing elec­tric­ity and hope to the town.

Sounds sim­ple enough, ex­cept BOT-C finds that a gi­ant mon­ster known as the ‘Crea­ture In The Well’ has made the fa­cil­ity its home and dis­abled the power. Worse still, in or­der to deter any­one from en­ter­ing, the Crea­ture has lit­tered the fa­cil­ity with booby-traps. BOT-C must ad­vance through each room by us­ing his sword to bounce orbs of elec­tric­ity off the bumpers that emerge from the floor, pow­er­ing up the fa­cil­ity pin­ball-style.

Clear­ing the room of all bumpers and ob­sta­cles will grant BOT-C an amount of elec­tri­cal power, which can be used to un­lock doors. As in any dun­geon-crawler, some rooms are sim­ple, con­tain­ing only a few ob­sta­cles, and in oth­ers you’ll be sur­rounded by dan­ger and elec­tri­cal at­tacks com­ing in from all an­gles.

It’s in these rooms that BOT-C’s charge move comes in handy. By press­ing Y you’ll per­form a sim­ple sword slash, but if you hold X and charge up, you’ll be able to col­lect and fire off mul­ti­ple orbs with twice the power. Charg­ing up your shots also al­lows for pre­ci­sion aim­ing, mak­ing for more ac­cu­rate hits that bounce off more bumpers and earn you bonus points. It just takes time to do it.

Well-oiled ma­chine

Crea­ture In The Well of­fers up huge amounts of fun, and there’s noth­ing quite like build­ing up a combo as you send elec­tric orbs crash­ing into the walls and bumpers around BOT-C. Af­ter you de­stroy ev­ery ob­sta­cle, all the orbs bounc­ing off the walls will be pulled into one mas­sive grav­i­ta­tional surge, cul­mi­nat­ing in a thrilling elec­tro­mag­netic ex­plo­sion.

The vi­su­als aren’t bad, ei­ther. Amid the desert sand­storm, grainy yel­lows and orange tans blend to­gether to cre­ate the feel­ing of be­ing lost and over­whelmed. Once in­side the fa­cil­ity, deep blues and greens in­fer aban­don­ment and ne­glect. You also get the skele­tal Crea­ture watch­ing BOT-C from the shad­ows, overtly suggest­ing that you’re never as alone as the world might sug­gest.

It should be noted, how­ever, that Crea­ture In The Well is chal­leng­ing. Pools of elec­tri­cal liq­uid recharge BOT-C’s health, but they are few and far be­tween. Worst of all, if you die, the Crea­ture will pluck you from the fa­cil­ity and throw you out­side. You’ll then have to re­turn to the build­ing and re­trace your steps un­til you reach the last room you vis­ited. This can be an ag­o­nis­ing part of the game, and slog­ging back to where you died feels like a se­ri­ously out­dated me­chanic.

But, ul­ti­mately, it is worth it. Crea­ture In The Well is a hec­tic joy to play, and the un­likely genre fu­sion works as­ton­ish­ingly well. Maybe some­one should try that ice cream burger af­ter all! ■

“The Crea­ture has lit­tered the fa­cil­ity with booby-traps”

LEFT Built into the side of a sandy moun­tain, the power fa­cil­ity is cer­tainly a daunt­ing place.

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