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Spooky Metroidvania Animal Well gets May 9th release date

It will have full Steam Deck support, too

An underground shrine surrounded by capybaras in Animal Well
Image credit: Bigmode

Solo developer Billy Basso's enigmatic Metroidvania Animal Well has been dated for May 9th, publishers Bigmode announced yesterday. In it, you'll explore a vast labyrinth of tunnels, solve puzzles and escape its many mammalian-based horrors, all of whom are out to gobble you up in one fell swoop - though as a strange, tiny little blob creature the size of a chicken nugget, it's unclear both what you are, and why exactly you're so appetising to them. Well, it probably has something to do with looking like a sentient chicken nugget, I suppose. Come and watch the release date trailer below.

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I played a whole 15 minutes of Animal Well back at GDC last year, which was enough to convince me that this is definitely a special little game all right. As a solo project, it looks utterly stunning. The amount of detail in show in its pixel art, the lighting, the ambience, the vibes... All absolutely wonderful.

Sure, even though the demo was timed and I got both hopelessly lost and eaten by a big spooky ghost wolf on the several attempts I made to get past it, I came away feeling like this could be the Tunic of Metroidvania games. It doesn't give up its secrets easily, and you'll need to really think hard about how its world fits together in order to solve its puzzles and mysteries along the way.

We get to see a couple of those in the release date trailer above, as there will be various items and tools you can deploy to bend this world to do your bidding. Sticks can be used to distract ravenous dogs, a bioluminescent yoyo can lure otters away to different parts of the map, and firecrackers can keep horrible crows at bay. Heck, you'll even have your own bubble wand to create makeshift platforms for you to jump on, you're that light and tiny.

So if all that sounds up your street, bookmark its Steam page for May 9th. It will cost £21/$25, and its Steam announcement says it will have "full Steam Deck support" too.

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