In a pile of indie games available for the Nintendo Switch, one game strives to stand out among the rest by combining two unlikely genres: pinball and dungeon crawling. Of course, I’m talking about Flight School Studio’s new game, Creature in the Well. Does this combination of genres make for a fun and memorable experience? Let’s take a look.
The Creature awaits
Creature in the Well takes place in a world that has been devastated by a massive sandstorm. You play as the last remaining BOT-C unit, which is trying to restore power to a giant machine at the top of a mountain. The machine is believed to have the ability to eradicate the sandstorm if its power is restored.
The machine has multiple sections that need to be brought back to life, and its depths reach several stories into the mountain. To make things worse, a horrifying creature resides within the mountain and will stop at nothing to wipe out the remaining BOT-C unit.
The story is simple enough, but the focus is the Creature itself. It constantly watches the BOT-C as it moves between rooms and restores power to the facility. The Creature’s presence throughout the journey really makes it seem like a threat, rather than something that just appears at the end of your quest.
Creature in the Well doesn’t have a complicated story to tell, but the Creature and its history with the machine and its creators make you want to learn more.
Restoring power with pinball
With a clear goal in mind, the BOT-C Unit is ready to restore power to the machine. The method is simple: use a variety of tools and play pinball with balls of energy to power up the various sections of the facility. Don’t worry, it’s simple.
Throughout Creature in the Well, the player has access to two types of attacks: charging and striking. Striking with your weapon will simply hit the ball toward wherever you’re facing. But charging will be your best friend in this game.
By holding one button, the BOT-C unit will continuously swipe its charge weapon. This will automatically catch any balls thrown in its direction. As the BOT-C is holding these balls, they will be charged with more energy. You can then swipe them away in any direction after charging. This will allow you to restore more energy to the obstacles you hit as well as bounce the balls faster. Charging is a great way to clear a room faster and stop most projectiles heading your way.
Pinball has never felt cooler. Creature in the Well takes these two simple moves and runs with it by presenting you with multiple dungeons that are each themed around different obstacles. One dungeon focuses entirely on moving targets, while another is filled with obstacles that are designed to hurt you if you’re not paying attention.
Like any dungeon crawler, Creature in the Well also has tons of secrets to find. These rooms hold items that will give you new abilities like slowing time or increasing your power output. Trust me, you’re going to need these. This game gets pretty difficult.
Unfortunately, this is a slight drawback for Creature in the Well. While I had a ton of fun going through each dungeon and completing all the rooms, I did find the game suddenly too challenging at times.
For example, I was able to clear every room in one dungeon and find all the secret areas with no problem. But once I reached the boss, I was suddenly met with quite the difficulty spike. While the rest of the game had presented me with fair challenges, I was at a loss for why I was having such a tough time with this one boss. Some people will like the extra challenge, but I felt certain difficult challenges came on too suddenly in some areas.
Despite this minor complaint, Creature in the Well is one of my favorite dungeon crawlers of all time. Aside from the gameplay, players will also be treated to stunning visuals that look like a moving painting. It also has subtle techno beats that are reminiscent of some pinball machines in the arcade.
Overall, I had an amazing time with Creature in the Well. It’s one of the best dungeon crawlers on the Switch and most certainly deserves to be the pioneer in a new genre that Flight School is calling the “Pinbrawler.” It’s a game I can easily see myself coming back to multiple times.
A review code was provided by the publisher.