During today’s Nintendo indie showcase stream, Flight School Studio had their own PC-bound weird take on the hack n’ slash dungeon crawler to announce; Creature In The Well. Part melee combat, part bullet hell, part pinball, and all stylish, thanks to a mix of comic-style shading effects that I don’t think I’ve ever seen in 3D before. Players control a sword-swinging robot as it descends into a subterranean labyrinth, defeating turret-dense security systems by deflecting bouncing bullets back into the tightly clustered defences. The announcement trailer lurks below.
It’s the look that immediately draws me into Creature In The Well. The hard, clear shading on the environment allows them to pull off tricks like the well itself being a void of absolute blackness, punctuated only by the hands and glowing eyes of the titular Creature. Whether the creature is even a direct antagonist is questionable, with the official screenshots including a snap of a friendly, three-eyed purple alien rockabilly crocodile-spider hybrid called Danielle. Clearly, this is a weird planet, filled with weird inhabitants, and so far all the enemies shown are mechanical in nature.
I’m eager to get my hands on the game and get a feel for its odd blend of evasion and ball-bouncing. The projectiles appear to move quickly, but the trailer makes rebounding them with your improvised, sword-shaped pinball flipper look surprisingly easy. The main threat seems to come from larger attacks, which are well telegraphed. Creature In The Well isn’t the first game to mix ball-bashing and monster-slaying, either. There’s some notable old examples on consoles, but I need to give a quick shout-out to 10S by Owch, a clever blend of bullet-dodging and tennis with a mid-game genre shift you really need to see, and should fill the gap until Creature In The Well launches.