Creature in the Well Review

Creature in the Well is a fun, fresh and energetic take on dungeon crawlers, taking inspiration from pinball games, Flight School Studios have taken the puzzles that haunt dungeons crawlers and turned them into something truly unique. You’ll never have a play a game like this.

Creature in the Well is a fun, fresh and energetic take on dungeon crawlers. Taking inspiration from pinball games, Flight School Studios have taken the puzzles that haunt dungeons crawlers and turned them into something truly unique. You’ll never have a play a game like this.

Developer: Flight School Studios, MWM Interactive
Publisher: Flight School Sutdios
Platforms: Steam, PS4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 6 September 2019

A Unique World

In the Creature in the Well you are the last remaining “BOT-C”, an engineer. The “BOT-C” is truly the perfect personification of the world you explore, a lost relic of a time that has been engulfed by the never ending sandstorm. The city of Mirage is in disrepair since the ancient machinery hidden in the depths of the mountains have stopped working – it is your task to get them going again.

The story isn’t instantly clear, instead you are left with an experience that is quite hard to pin point a clear genre for. Some have described it as a dungeon crawler, puzzle-action game and “pinball with swords”. Like I said you’re not going to play many games like this.

The world has a perfectly selected colour palette that complements the disrepair of this desert bound city, which is shown through its isometric art style. Whilst the dungeons show off the ancient technology of an ancient civilisation, that as you play, you learn more about.

Creature in the Well gives the player control of your “BOT-C” immediately with little suggestion that you are in control. As you eventually are prompted to start a new game, you wait patiently for the loading screen to appear or repeatedly tap A (or X) as if that has ever done anything, with the game’s logo hovering above the desert. You then realise you have control and you move forth into the desert. The minimalist story telling and lack of direction from those first moments show that the game isn’t going to hold your hand and it is up to you to figure out the best way to proceed.

It’s Okay To Fail

With the pinball mechanic, you are faced with a number of different machines that make up the puzzle, using your skills of geometry you must hit the machinery in order to gain power, which gives you access to the next chamber or special chambers. If you’re willing to explore. The pinball mechanism is pretty easy to grasp with only three controls; Y, to strike, X to charge and A to dodge. The simple control system really puts the emphasis on you and your skills if you fail.

However, the game doesn’t belittle you for failing, lacking a flashy screen reminding you of your failure, instead you are carefully picked up by the titular creature and placed outside in Mirage, giving you a chance to heal in the pool and try again. Trial and error is key to the game, as there a number of different machines that work differently and offer a number of threats, which can become overwhelming. The game forces you to learn every one of these and how to best use them to your advantage or avoid their attacks. The smallest of adjustments to your gameplay could mean the world of difference.

When you do complete the challenge you are relieved and met with a large number of power points allowing you to freely roam the temple. Through exploration you can gain a number of different collectables; capes, strike tools and charge tools. Despite most of these being for purely aesthetic reasons, it’s a completionist’s dream as the puzzle to unlock some of the items are quite a daunting prospect.

The Creature in the Well

The titular creature is the narrator for the game, giving threatening and creepy monologue in each encounter. You’ll never forget the first time you see those eyes appear out of the darkness. Those boney hands reach out as you pass over grated walkways. Near the end of each level, it will drag you down into the depths and you have to face a puzzle in order to return to continue. There are few NPCs who also help drive the story but these are few and far between. Each taking the shape of some sort of animal, I had the feeling they just didn’t belong the game, for some unknown reason.

Nothing’s Perfect

The game isn’t without issues, the early puzzles are very repetitive with few designs between them and limits the amount of different machinery in their designs. With the first level taking around an hour, those who are testing the game may not get the full experience of Creautre in the Well.

A glaring issue is the button scheme, especially those who enjoy the narrative of a game. As the narrative is told through conversations, many of which are not re-accessible unless you restart the game. I think the right bumper was the wrong choice. This is a button that at times has to be pushed rapidly in other games and I’m notorious for pushing those back buttons one too many times and did take some getting used too.

The dodge also is very reactive, which can be a life saver but also a disaster waiting to happen. An unfortunate twitch of a finger can spell your end and lead to many hours of frustration, especially in a game that sometimes you just need that little sprinkle of luck to win.

Final Thoughts

These are minor issues, however and Creature in the Well is a thoroughly enjoyable game. What seems like is going to be a very short game, but highly enjoyable. For those on Xbox Game Pass you have a bargain but those willing to spend their £15 you have a bargain. Creature in the Well is the perfect example of something of why Microsoft is doing so well with their Game Pass. A game you might have passed on for £15, but at £8 a month you can’t go wrong, Creature in the Well now has the platform to be able to compete with titans like Gear of War, Halo and such. Not to say that the £15 price tag isn’t worth it, it bloody well is and I’m thinking of adding it to my Switch library as this is something I’d like to play again in the near future.

SNES Classics: Star Fox Review

Star Fox, the original in Franchise, released in 1993. A rail shooter, where you take control of Fox McCLoud’s aircraft and defend your homeplant, Corneria from the Andross’ attacking forces. This game would feel at home down your local or seaside arcade, with it’s rail shooting action and score cards.

The Road to Venom

The reason I say that it belongs in arcade is because you are given 3 different routes on a map, much like the arcade game I grew up playing. What’s interesting here is that each different route is basically a difficulty setting, but each with a unique set of missions.

Star Fox was one the second 3-D games to be developed by Nintendo but was the first to use polygonal graphics, with the help of Super FX chip. This did take some getting use to for me. Enemy ships were blending in with my squads ship, whilst getting used to the controls was a bit of annoyance but that soon passed and I was having the time of my life. Star Fox offers more than the usual up, down, sideways movements, you can do rolls in the mist of battle, meaning you are able to dodge obstacles with ease. The simple things.

Your squad consists of three other pilots; Slippy Toad, Peppy Hare and Falco Lombardi. This reminded me a load of modern games where you take control of a squad, with certain requests and snarky remarks on your actions throughout your playthrough. Following the completion you are given a score sheet with your squads remaining shields, which impact the score you are given. This is a really cool feature as it gets you thinking about more than just what the enemy and you are doing, as you have to destroy ships that are chasing down your allies, or allowing them to get their own kills. It really gives you a sense of a real space battle, which we’ve all been dreaming of because of those early sci-fi films.

One of the great things about this game is the use of both 3rd and 1st person cameras. The game alternates between the two depending on the focus of the mission or the task during the mission. For example in stage 2, you start off using the 1st person camera, with the task involving a more action packed sequence. However, during that same mission you enter a Return of the Jedi esque Death Star sequence that focuses on your manoeuvrability, which switches to 2nd person.

This was just a purely enjoyable experience and a franchise I’ll be looking into getting into in the next couple of months, whilst I’m sadly without an Xbox and I’d recommend the same for any Nintendo Online subscribers. This original has just got a certain appeal, it’s very cheesy with the dialogue and the character names but the gameplay is simple, fun and addictive.

SNES Classics: Super Metroid Review

Nintendo is 100% taking a retro route with the Nintendo Switch with the Super Nintendo Entertainment System Online addition to the Nintendo Online service. My uncle owned a SNES and it was a system that me and my brother would sneak out of his room to get some game time, so I felt this was the perfect opportunity to go down memory lane and give some updated thoughts 15 years on from when I last played any SNES title. So every Monday I will doing a small review on a title from the SNES Online catalogue on the Switch, first up is Super Metroid.

Super Metroid is the third instalment in the franchise following Metroid and Metroid II: The Return of Samus. Metroid is never a franchise I really played until I owned the Gamecube in 2001, so this was a relatively new experience for me. In this instalment, you return as Samus, who has taken a Metroid hatchling to a science lab, which is quickly attacked by the returning Space Pirates. You are tasked to travel to Zebes to retrieve the larvae.

Released back in 1994, the 2-D side-scrolling action-adventure is considered a game not to be missed by any gamer. Super Metroid perfected the exploration and run and gun style of gameplay, resulting in many games incorporating the mechanics into their own gameplay. As you explore the ruined planet of Zebes, you gradually build up an arsenal of gadgets and skills which allows you to unlock the next area, each with a new challenge waiting for you to beat.

Discovering the Morphing Ball in Brinstar

Upon arriving on the rainy planet, you are met with emptiness, a planet void of life until you discover the morph ball where you then are introduced to the numerous and never-ending hordes of enemies that plaque Zebes. I loved that initial moment of emptiness. For some reason, it just hit home, there was going to be no help going into this mission to rescue the Metroid.

Super Metroid is the first game in the series where you can fire in eight different directions and whilst on the move. However, despite the simplicity of the controls, it’s actually difficult to get used with the Switch’s joy-cons. I even ended up dusting off the D-pad after a bit of trouble using the analogue stick to aim. Luckily, the developers put in a control button configuration on the main menu or you could purchase the SNES controller Nintendo is planning on releasing in the nearby future. However, the game lacks any tutorial, so trial and error is the way forward in this game, it took me several reloads to realise how to unlock each door. Despite being incredibly frustrating at first, it actually made for quite a refreshing experience as it was quite nice not to see a map marker.

You can almost feel the birth of the speedrunner in this game, the 2-D side-scrolling, the amount of freedom and exploration, the optional pick-ups to help defeat your foes. It really allows you to create your own path to victory. On top of this, the game’s ending is dependent on how fast you complete the game. With the cannon or best ending apparently happening if you complete the game in under 3 hours. This is what gives the game a great sense of replay value as well, you can challenge yourself to complete the game in the quickest time or with the fewest optional upgrades.

Kraid, one of the many annoying boss battles you have to face in Super Metroid

Overall, this was a really fun experience and I can see why it’s one of those games that shouldn’t be missed. You can envision playing the game for the first time back in 1994 and just being lost in it for hours, that sort of arcade sense of challenging yourself to beat your quickest time just really engulfs you into hours of commitment to the game.

 

Pokemon Sword & Shield: Update

It’s been a while since we’ve given our thoughts on the latest addition to the Pokemon series.

Gym leaders, as well as Pokemon are now exclusive dependent on the version of the game get. If you own Sword you will face Bea who prefers fighting type, whilst those who own Shield will fight the creepy looking Allister, who has Ghost type as his preference. Although this is probably a ploy to get you to buy both games, I think it’s really interesting as you have to swap up the Pokemon you catch dependent on the version. I wonder if the version exclusive Pokemon reflect that.

Following on from the additions of Yamper, Duraludon, Rolycoly and Friends, we now have Morpeko. This adorable little fellow carries on the tradition of cute and cuddly but deadly electric types they seem to release in each addition. But Morpeko has a dark side, with the ability hunger switch, it not only changes its appearance but also to a dark type when you don’t feed him. He also becomes more aggressive and volatile, finishing of any enemies in the hangriest of ways.

Morpeko

Galarian forms have been announced, and no they’re not the time lord variants (Doctor Who pun, who doesn’t love them). I personally love the Alolan variants from Sun & Moon and so happy to see them back and hopefully some of our favourites get a neat little British update. The first two Pokemon to get their new forms announced are Weezing and Zigzagoon. Weezing has a hilarious form, with his smudge now forming a mustache and his head now possessing a chimney in the form of a top hat. Whilst Zigzagoon has evolved into a skunk-like creature but the most interesting part is that the different environment in the Galar region means that Linoone can now evolve into the badass looking Obstagoone. Here’s fingers crossed to more third gen variants in the coming future.

Team Yell Male Grunt

Team Yell are the new Team Rocket you have to face in the Galar region but they’re not your organised underground criminal organisation like the other teams from previouse installments. They’re some really horrible fans of Marnie, who’s a rival looking to become the Pokemon champion and they appear everywhere she goes to support her. A really cool addition to the sports/e-sports thing they’re going for with all the stadiums. You also have a large number of rivals including Leon, Hop, Beadie and Marnie who are competing with you on the gym challenge.

Finally, Sword and Shield allows you to earn Poke XP in a more humane way, by giving your team jobs to complete. When you enter the Poke Centre, head to the Rotomi (the updated PC) and select one of a number of jobs to help out with. Certain types are better at different jobs, so just chose wisely.

So whose excited for November 15th, when Sword and Shield will hit our Switches, I’m getting really excited myself and added to my GAME pre-order list.

My Friend Pedro Review

Fancy taking a trip back to year 9 prowling through the internet for them online shoot ’em ups, My Friend Pedro is your game.

My Friend Pedro is a shoot ’em up which combines parkour, shooting and… some groovy tunes? DeadToast Entertainment’s game will give you sense that you’ve plugged in your earbuds and you’re on your way. Imagine Baby Driver or Guardian’s of the Galaxy’s Peter Quill in a platformer.

Developer: DeadToast Entertainment
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Steam, GOG.com, Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 20 June 2019

You wake up from a coma in a mobster’s basement and are quickly interrupted by Pedro. Who’s a… well… a flying banana who guides you through the game and acts as the narrative force of the game other than the odd cutscene. You make your way through a number of different territories, each with a number of different levels to be completed.

A sort of old school arcade mechanic is employed for My Friend Pedro. In that each level gives you a grade depending on how many points you achieve, if you’ve avoided death or a number of mission specific tasks. As usual these come accompanied with a leader board, don’t even ask what my ranking is… its awful. Points are earned through combos and more attractive kills. There are various objects through the games such as barrels, breakable boards and glass, explosives and basket balls, that can all be used in creative ways to boost your tally.

You can earn mega points by using the focus skill, which slows down time and allows you dive around the place meaning you can truly unlock some of the coolest combos around. The controls are very simple but there’s a lot of things to learn. While dual wielding, you can split aim and don’t forget the dodge, where you quite literally dance around the bullets.

My Friend Pedro is a game that took me back to Year 9 IT class, as I refused to do any work instead spending the time prowling for online shoot ’em up games but it has evolved. The game may not blow your mind but it’s simple and fun to play on the go, especially on the Switch. Most of it was completed on the bus to and from work for me. I’d recommend to give it a go and get hitting those sweet combo numbers.

E3 Round-up: The Dale edition!

E3 has sadly finsihed and whilst I believe it wasn’t the best we’ve seen, it did have keanu Reeves, which is always a win. There were a few surprise announcements, probably the biggest surprise is that Nintendo are working on a sequel for Zelda: Breath of the Wild. I was going to write a piece for each press conference, but now that it’s over and the hype has settled I think a round up will be suitable.

Animal Crossing: New Horizons.

I’ve played an animal crossing game, not sure which one, but not to the point where I would consider myself a huge fan. I certainly love the idea of the game… It’s peaceful and it really allows you to loose yourself in its world. The game appears to have a big focus on the ability to farm and make your own furniture, to eventually pay off Tom Nooks extortionate vacation prices. The game looks beautiful and it scares me a little, with the amount of time I spent in Stardew Valley, I can see this being a game that will eat up a good chunk of my free time… sigh… gotta farm for that sweet money though!

But it’s not just on my list for the game itself, Animal Crossing: New Horizons has been delayed until 2020, it was originally late 2019. Nintendo has stated that they don’t want to rush it and they want to ensure a good work life balance for the developers working on the game. I respect this so much, in a world full of horror stories about game devs working extortionate hours… It’s nice to see companies who are not afraid to delay games to ensure the health of their staff. I’m really not a fan of this “Crunch” Culture that the gaming industry seems to force, so it’s nice to see one of the big companies take a hit like this for its staff… Kudos Nintendo.

Borderlands 3

Borderlands 3 looks absolutely absurd… and I love it! Being a franchise that sat on the back burner in my mind, Borderlands 2 was a game that I put some serious hours into as a kid… seriously… I’m pretty sure me and my brother played it non-stop for months. Providing me with one of my favourite protagonists, Handsome Jack and also my favourite robot ever… Claptrap.
Providing us with four new vault hunters to play, I’m sure that Borderlands 3 will be just as crazy as its past games. One thing that was interesting to me is that it looks like we are going to visit more than one vault in this game, with the developers hinting at multiple huge boss fights that I’m sure will be completely blown out of proportion and overly absurd, its exciting!
Also, there’s meant to be over a billion different guns, that a lot of ways to kill psychos… I’m happy with that!

SilkSong

Anyone that has read my blog knew that this was going to make an appearance… Silksong is the sequel to Hollow Knight created by the wonderful Team Cherry. We did not get a release date… However we did get a little bit of game play and I have to say it looks fantastic. Hollow Knight was a smooth and beautifully crafted experience that really got me back into the metroidvania genre. Hornet, the main character looks to be just as in depth as the Knight was, with new abilities and a whole new world which looks enchanting.
One thing that caught my eye was the amount of musical references within the game, for example there were enemies that wore bells and musical instruments spread all over the map. This gets me excited for what Team Cherry have created, the music within Hollow Knight was breathtaking and from the snippet we have of Silksong it looks to further that musical nature of the game.
Hopefully we get a release date soon, by the looks of it the Nintendo Switch will be a launch platform for Silksong… since the game play was provided by Nintendo.

Outer Worlds

I never played Fallout: New Vegas… I should probably get on that before Outer Worlds comes out. Obsidian, the creators of Lloyd’s favourite Fallout: New Vegas returns with a game that appears to take everything that people loved about New Vegas and implement it into a new world.
From what we have seen, Outer Worlds shows so much character and depth that I can’t help but fall in love with the fun characters and the way that it doesn’t take itself so seriously, but still have a serious world… I can get on board with that… I love a game that doesn’t take itself too seriously.

The Legend of Zelda: Links Awakening

You know… I’m not really into the Zelda universe, not that I don’t like it, it’s just a game that as a kid slipped past me. I’ve always wanted to dive in, but never really had an opportunity. Until Breath of The Wild, possibly one of the greatest games made, but it came at a time where I was feeling a bit of burn out with Open World games, I would get bored quickly and just give up. It didn’t help that at the time I was falling in love with Metroidvanias.
Links Awakening, firstly looks absolutely beautiful… its adorable and full of character, so that instantly attracts me. The way that fans are anticipating this game really gets me excited to experience it for the first time, I’m really looking forward to throwing myself into it.
Also, the trailer showed off a dungeon creation system, where you can create a dungeon out of the ones you have played, that looks so much fun and challenging. It appears that you can challenge yourself and earn rewards for completing your monstrous dungeons, but from what I’ve seen it appears there is no function to share the dungeons. If they don’t, they could be missing out on a huge opportunity… With the success of Mario Maker, wouldn’t it be interesting to have a Zelda game where you could create and share dungeons? Now that would be awesome.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps

Since Ori and the Blind Forest is one of my favourite games, I’m really excited to play this game! From the trailer that we saw at Microsoft’s conference, it looks to keep its beautiful visuals and captivating music. Both music and visuals combine in to one surreal experience that will leave you wanting more and pondering on the deeper meanings of the game.
From what we’ve seen however this game looks to be much more focused on boss fights, we saw a few in the trailer and I’m down for that. The last game had a way of making you feel small in an expansive world, add giant bosses to the mix that I’m sure will make you feel even more helpless and force you to fight harder.
All this talking about Ori makes me what to play it again! If you havn’t I suggest you do, its fantastic!

That’s not everything that I’m excited for from E3, but its the main games that I personally cannot wait for! I’m hoping that a few of these games will be playable at EGX in London this year!

What did you guys think of this E3? who do you think ‘Won’? Personally I think Nintendo blew it out of the water this year, whilst Bethesda was the worst for me… “But Blades is a true Elder Scrolls experience” … Jesus christ, whats happened to Bethesda?

Anyways enough from me,

Thanks for reading!