Review: Creature in the Well

About this Game

Creature in the Well

Publisher

Flight School

Developer

Flight School

Release Date

March 31, 2020

Console

PlayStation 4

Time to Plat

~10h

Platinum Difficulty

Medium

Online Trophies?

No

Difficulty Trophies?

No

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Today’s Forecast: Sand In Your Circuits, With Slight Chance of Giant Cloaked Well-Dwelling Monster.

Creature in the Well is a fantastic little Indie title with a great art style and some really unique gameplay mechanics which play off the basic principles of Arkanoid/Breakout and Pinball.

Personally, I think it is criminally unknown and so here I am just trying to raise awareness, maybe convince you to give it a go, and just dip into the details of the Platinum Journey to give you an idea of what you can expect from this hidden gem.

Creature in the Well Review

Breakout, plus Pinball, plus Action, equals?

In Creature in the Well, you play as a recently re-activated BOT-C robot who is attempting to resume the purpose he was built for; building and maintaining a weather control system which can clear away the surrounding sandstorm.

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Our first moments are sandy, to say the least.

Along the way, you’ll uncover details about the area’s lore; why doesn’t the machine work? What’s wrong with all these recluse villagers? Where are the other BOT-C robots? How is the Creature in the Well tied into all of this?

In order to answer those questions, though, you’ll need to get back to work re-activating the machine!

The Weather Control Machine is split up into 8 main stages, each of which contains a control panel that you will need to access and re-activate.

Gaining access to the panels is no small task, though, as you will need to work your way through various rooms, using a pinball-style system to charge orbs with energy and then knock them into various chargeable panels and modules around the room.

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With each object you charge, you’ll receive some backup energy supply which can be used to open doors throughout the building, allowing you to access deeper parts of the facility and even secret rooms containing better equipment or health upgrades.

Equipment such as a Magnetic Fork which will let you pull orbs to your person from a greater distance, or a large hammer which will split orbs into 3 when hit, or a Thunder Staff which will let out streaks of chain lightning to charge multiple objects at once.

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Just a few of the game’s collectable items and secret tools.

Even after all that, just as you’re about to step into the control room, without fail on each and every stage, the Creature will appear and pull the platform you’re on into the abyss.

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Going down!

From there, you’ll have to face a boss fight of varying degrees of difficulty the further you progress through the game, which are essentially just faster-paced more intense versions of the puzzles found elsewhere throughout each stage.

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Just your typical Creature in the Well boss fight!

While the concept is simple on paper, there is so much variety in the gameplay with the different elements that get thrown at you, and different configurations of layout and timing which all help to vary each room. There’s a lot to acclimate to and doing so is incredibly fun and satisfying, with a great sense of accomplishment after overcoming a particularly challenging puzzle or boss fight.

I do have to note that there’s a difficulty spike which comes completely out of nowhere and hits like a brick wall, but it was very fulfilling to overcome and got me pumped for finishing the game.

Indie Artistry

The art style for this game is something which I found to be incredibly attractive. There’s a strange blend of vintage comic book aesthetic and modern-day vector graphic principles which blend together really well in a way which not only sells, but exacerbates the grungy sand-beaten state of the stages, the temple, and the surrounding village.

I also really enjoyed how each stage had its own colour scheme which helped to set them apart and keep the repeating assets from looking stale, but also the artist has an excellent understanding of colour harmony, so each stage looked fantastic.

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This stage was my personal favourite aesthetically, the blue/yellow contrast looks excellent throughout.

Combined with the smooth and hard-hitting animation, with plenty of flair and simple-yet-effective visual effects, the game really stands out to me artistically and it certainly wouldn’t have been such a pleasant experience if not for the excellent aesthetic employed by the designer.

My Creature in the Well Platinum Trophy Experience

Making Progress

My approach with Creature in the Well was nothing special, just scrutinous.

I spent a lot of time stubbornly replaying parts which I was struggling with, just because I wanted to ensure a map was 100% completed before I moved on to the next stage. Even though I could have probably just come back later with better equipment/ more health and had a much easier time.

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Revealing secret areas is a big part of the game as it’s where your upgrades and new weapons can be found.

Regardless, I soldiered on. Things went pretty smoothly for the most part, I managed to complete the first 5 out of the 8 total stages with no difficulty but then I reached the Synchronous Field stage and good lord that was difficult. It took me a while to even reach the boss and then once I got there I was just stuck.

Every time I picked the game back up again, I’d fight this boss for maybe 15 minutes straight and then give up until eventually I just stopped picking the game back up. I took a break, played through horizon and wrote the guides for that, and then came back to the game nice and refreshed.

I wouldn’t say my skill at the game was any better, worse in-fact, but I had a bit more patience for whatever reason and managed to stick with the boss fight for as long as I needed to in order to get past it and move onto the next stage; North Star Conduit.

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North Star Conduit’s white colour scheme is very Star Wars.

North Star Conduit was slightly easier but still pretty difficult, taking me a good few tries just to reach the boss only to have to fight the boss around 10 times or so.

After that, everything was much easier, as I’d managed to get past the game’s one real difficulty spike.

Stopping for Cleanup

Once the North Star Conduit stage was complete, I was right on the precipice of the game’s penultimate stage, but I had a little mopping up to do. Pretty much every miscellaneous trophy had been earned naturally, or stumbled upon, but there were a couple for which I’d need to go out of my way to locate secret hidden stages.

These hidden stages were really quite difficult, but they were technically difficult. As in they hurt your brain, and not your health bar. There was no danger of dying and restarting so I was afforded plenty or time to evaluate the puzzle and try a few different things before finding the best solution, which was a nice break from some of the more intense moments you find in the main stages.

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One of the more frustratingly complex hidden puzzles.

I also still had a few collectables to find, but they were mostly located in and around the hidden stages so I didn’t really have to go too far off-course to ensure I’d grabbed everything I needed before finishing the game. This was thanks to my scrutiny when playing through the main stages for the first time.

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One of few collectables I accidentally left behind.

The Well

With everything correctly in place, I was ready to enter the Well and finish the game.

The Well was actually really easy, it felt more like a last-hurrah than a final challenge, which I actually preferred. Especially after the awful time I had with the Synchronous Field stage. I made sure to collect the last couple of collectables I needed for the last couple of collectable trophies, and then blasted my way through to the end of the game.

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After an incredibly fun final-boss fight which left me feeling very triumphant and satisfied, I interacted with the final few consoles in the final control room and laid my controller down as the Platinum slid onto my screen.

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Time Breakdown

Main Stages

Collectables

Misc Trophies

Creature in the Well Trophy Guide

So what do you think? Does this unique take on Breakout gameplay interest you? Fancy tackling the platinum for yourself?

If so, Check out our Creature in the Well Trophy Guide here.

That concludes my Creature in the Well Review. If you enjoyed reading this review, please do let us know, it means the world to us when we hear feedback and we love engaging with people over the game we just platted. It’s basically the only thing motivating us at the moment!

You can follow us on Twitter @GetPlat and Instagram @platget where we’ll be sharing updates, screenshots, upcoming reviews and general gripes about the games we’re working on so feel free to follow us or use it as another channel for feedback!

Verdict

Plat

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This totally unique indie title really is a hidden gem and should definitely be played by everyone, at the very least. Taking only 10 hours to plat and having plenty of satisfyingly challenging moments, though, why not go a little further and bag the plat too?

Pros

  • Unique core mechanics result in interesting and intense gameplay
  • Pleasant art style with a great understanding of colour harmony
  • Fast and satisfying gameplay

Cons

  • Pretty huge difficulty spike around Synchronous Field stage
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Gold Trophy

A really solid indie game. I don't tend to enjoy indie games due to lack of polish or weak storytelling, but this game does a fantastic job all-round and it's core mechanics are a real strong selling point.

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About the Author

More fond of single-player experiences and story-driven games than anything else, TheDblTap has a keen eye for secrets and collectables, a skill which serves him well as a Trophy Hunter. However, with little patience and poor timing, he can struggle where MrZhangetsu would succeed.

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