STORE COMMUNITY ABOUT SUPPORT
Login Store Community Support
View desktop website
© Valve Corporation. All rights reserved. All trademarks are property of their respective owners in the US and other countries.
Nintendo has hired the creator of reverse-shmup Downwell. As one hawk-eyed ResetEra user spotted, Ojiro 'Moppin' Fumoto tweeted the news out earlier today, though he previously announced the hiring last month on Facebook.
The tweets are in Japanese, but according to my knowledge of Japanese and a little help from three online translators, they roughly translate to: "I got a job at Nintendo! I'll do my best" and "Days are shorter when you're working."
Sadly, this likely won't lead to much for PC gamers, seeing as how Nintendo says it has no interest in putting its games on PC. Even so, it's nice to see a talented indie developer who started on PC take his talents to a big studio. It's also an interesting talking point in the Nintendo Switch gold rush, which has been a huge boon for many indie devs.
As our own Tom Senior wrote in 2016, Downwell is a simple game hiding layer upon satisfying layer of hidden depth. Equipped with gun boots, you fall down procedurally generated levels in a seemingly bottomless well shooting baddies and meeting merchants. It's all about racking up bigger combos and falling deeper each time, which is an incredibly absorbing cycle. If you want to try it yourself, you'll find Downwell for $3 on Steam and GOG.
Moppin is also part of the development team of UFO 50, one of of our most anticipated indie games of 2018. UFO 50 is a collection of 50 small games that span 2D platformers to golf games to RPGs. It's a collaborative effort by a huge team of indie devs, including Spelunky creator Derek Yu. At this point it isn't clear what Moppin's hiring means for the game, if anything. Have a look at its announcement trailer:
Although modest compared to last week's mammoth sale, the latest weekly Steam sale is still plenty big at over 300 games. Among them are three great indies, which are marked down by up to 80 percent through Monday, November 20.
The cheapest is Downwell, a 2D action game about collecting items and bouncing on bad guys while falling down a well. At 66 percent off, it's just $1. Which, as Tom will tell you, is a steal for the absorbing hidden depth that this reverse-shmup offers.
Necrodancer enthusiasts will also find a selection of add-ons on the cheap, chief among them the Amplified prequel DLC, which introduces a new playable character and a fresh dungeon to explore. The slightly discounted Necrodancer Amplified Pack is available for $7, while the DLC itself is under $5 at 33 percent off. A medley of soundtracks and extras are also available for $1 to $3 each, with the $21 Necrodancer Ultimate Pack offering the best deal on the lot.
Finally, there's BroForce, a raucous, raunchy riff on action movies. It's a tongue-in-cheek 2D action game that Joe found to be both funny and fun despite its predictability. At 75 percent off, it's just under $4. Bizarrely, however, the BroForce four-pack still costs $45 according to its Steam listing.
Downwell is an tight vertical shooter in which no single part of the game is wasted. I’ve tried many times to explain exactly how smart its design is, as has Adam, but it can be hard to appreciate the beauty of a clockwork machine by someone describing cogs and pendulums to you. This recent video from GDC 2016 might help: its Downwell designer Ojiro Fumoto explaining how he designed the game around its “one key mechanic,” the gunboots.
In Why I Love, PC Gamer writers pick an aspect of PC gaming that they love and write about why it's brilliant. Today, Tom stomps, stomps, stomps in Downwell.
You've fallen down a hole—bad luck. Fortunately you had the foresight to leave the house in your shiny new gunboots. The kick-back momentarily halts your fall, and gives you a precious few microseconds to spot any animals—bats, wall-hedgehogs and floating blob monsters—that might take offense to your intrusion. All you can do is make the best of your situation as you fall further and further into the abyss.
Downwell is an arcade shmup in reverse, with procedurally generated levels and random weapon placement. It's perfectly paced, literally—the speed at which you fall is tuned to be just too quick to parse without great concentration. Your gun-boots are both a killing tool and a means to buy time, to better plot a route through the crisscrossing foes, destructible crates and rocky outcrops. As you fall you collect gems that you can spend on more health and weapon charges in the well's occasional convenience stores, which seem to thrive on the custom of clumsy gun-booted adventurers.
I'm fond of apparently simple games that hide layers of tactical depth. It's a trait shared by other Why I Love favourites, Ikaruga and Devil Daggers, and is true of Downwell. For its limited scope and tiny price tag it could easily just be a disposable score attack game that entertains for a few hours. I have played for many, many hours now across PC and iPad, and still enjoy the speed, the splatter of every impact, and the surprising variety it packs into its narrow arenas.
You can play cautiously, landing on every platform in a slow, methodical manner, or you can play a total-avoidance style by trying to fall from the top of the level through to the bottom without touching anything. Best of all, you can hop from enemy to enemy without touching platforms. It took a lot of runs for me to realise that the game counts every chained enemy stomp with a tiny number above your head. Pass ten kills in a row and you earn an instant bonus of 100 gems. Go further and you start earning health and extra charges for your gun. Extra charges give you greater air-time, which increases your ability to chain.
It's an absorbing cycle that makes death agonising and constant instant restarts inevitable. It's complicated further by side-caves containing new gun-boot variations. Grabbing one gives you a chance to earn health or a weapon charge along with the pickup, which means you have to regularly adapt to new rates of fire. Shotgun-boots give you a small number of powerful short-range blasts, which means you can clear a lot of blocks, but can't travel laterally easily without using most of the magazine. Rapid fire weapons offer the opposite compromise. There's a skill to understanding and exploiting each weapon's advantages across the changing levels—thankfully, time-bubbles at the entrance to each cave lets you preserve your combo between shopping trips.
I can't stop playing it. Thanks to a surprisingly responsive iPad version, Downwell now goes everywhere I go. On both versions I've done enough to unlock different main characters. Some can take more damage, others have different levels of access to gems and new weapons, but there's only one I need. He enjoys a more floaty falling model that lets him ping from one side of the cave to the other in graceful, somersaulting arcs. Maybe, as floaty-guy, I will make it to the bottom of this cave with a single, continuous mega-chain. Only then will I consider Downwell complete.
In Downwell [official site], there’s only one way to go. Equipped with a pair of gunboots, you’re making your way right down to the bottom of a well, blasting objects, terrain and monsters that block your path. You shoot straight from the soles and there are various powerups that change the spread or strength of your pedal-projectiles. I’ve been plumbing the depths for a couple of days and here’s wot I think.>