App review: Downwell

After receiving glowing reviews from App Store users, Downwell is now available from the Google Play Store...
App review: Downwell

Take charge of an intrepid explorer as he falls into the darkness in Downwell. The arcade-esque vertical scroller made waves on the App Store, and now it’s available on Android, too.


iOS and now Android (as of 29 January 2016)

What does it do?

In this game, as the title suggests, you’re heading down a well. In said well you’ll find lots of bad guys that need shooting, jumping on top of, or avoiding at all costs in order to get to the bottom, where you’ll be able to advance to the next level.

The game is presented in retro 8-bit with a Game Boy-like chip tune soundtrack, but the old school layout shouldn’t deter younger fans. It may look like it should be played on a Super Nintendo, but it certainly doesn’t play like it.

What did we like?

Downwell is super-reactive and relatively fast-paced, so it does take a few runs through before you understand what’s going on.

There are loads of different items and things to unlock throughout, meaning even if you do run out of health points and get sent back to the beginning, it’s not a tedious task getting back to where you were.

We also love the similarities our nameless protagonist shares with Super Mario. Jumping on creatures will squish them (if you don’t shoot them first) and jumping at blocks from below will break them to reveal hidden gems.

What could be better?

As we’re testing the game on a smartphone, the controls are on-screen. And as you’re constantly heading downwards, and the buttons are at the bottom, they’re sometimes in the way.

There is the option to make them invisible, which helps a bit, but your thumbs will still be in the way. It’s a small inconvenience at most, but notable all the same.

Our verdict

We can’t put it down. It’s incredibly playable and doesn’t come bundled with the frustrations of Flappy Bird et al.

The only downside being that it’s not a free app, but if you’re looking for something to while away commute time, and have a few spare quid, we’d highly recommend Downwell.

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