CREATURE IN THE WELL
TAKE ON THIS DUNGEON-CRAWLER AND BECOME A PINBALL WIZARD
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.
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.