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Creature in the Well

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Creature in the Well Game Poster Image
Sci-fi dungeon crawling with a unique pinball twist.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

While generally light on story, your character's main motivation for reactivating the facility and driving back the Creature is to help provide shelter and power for those suffering from the effects of a massive sandstorm.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Your BOT-C isn't simply fighting to survive. It's also fighting for the survival of others.

Ease of Play

Although the gameplay mechanics are easy to pick up and play, it quickly becomes insanely difficult. Timing and aim are everything. Precision gets much more difficult with the frantic action onscreen.

Violence

Players use their weapons to catch, charge, and hit energy balls into bumpers, walls, and other targets. There are a few enemies, such as drones, to defend yourself against by hitting a ball into them, but they are small mechanical items than break apart on impact.

Sex
Language

Minor language, such as the word "damned," pop up rarely in dialogue.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Creature in the Well is a sci-fi action fantasy game available for download on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows-based PCs. Players take on the role of a robotic engineer attempting to restart an abandoned facility that's been taken over by a massive, shadowy creature. Players make progress by hitting balls of energy into targets to solve puzzles and overcome obstacles. Gamers can fall victim to various traps set throughout the facility, but they simply restart at the entrance of a level when they fail. The only other violence involves hitting the energy balls into drones or other enemies attempting to stop BOT-C's progress. The word "damned" pops up rarely in dialogue, but otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.

User Reviews

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What's it about?

CREATURE IN THE WELL is an action/puzzle hybrid game set amongst the backdrop of a futuristic dystopian world struggling to survive. You are BOT-C, the last remaining unit in a line of engineering robots. When a massive sandstorm threatens to wipe out the remnants of the nearby settlement city of Mirage, you're called upon to reactivate a long dormant and abandoned facility to provide a safe haven from the storm. Unfortunately, this facility isn't as abandoned as once believed. A massive creature of unknown origin and power lies deep within the facility's depths. It's up to you to make your way through the facility, using your wits and your tools to charge up orbs of energy and bounce them through the halls to bypass obstacles and restore energy to the facility's ancient circuits. Will you be able to make your way through the building's various traps and lead the people of Mirage to shelter? Will you uncover the truth behind the Creature and why it chose to make this place its home? The answers lie in your skills, your determination, and maybe just a bit of luck.

Is it any good?

What would happen if you tossed together two-parts sci-fi dungeon crawler with one-part pinball machine, and topped it off with a bit of racquetball for flavor? As strange as that mix sounds, it's the best way to describe Creature in the Well. Far from a traditional dungeon crawler by any stretch, the game genuinely feels like it sticks you in some surreal labyrinth designed by someone that watched Star Wars one too many times with The Who's Tommy album playing in the background. It's a trippy experience unlike just about anything else, and yet somehow it works beautifully.

The game's visual style looks like someone breathed life into a comic book. Its combination of neon glow set against the depths of the abandoned subterranean facility strikes just the right balance of dungeon grunge and sci-fi sleek. Gameplay is deceptively simple to pick up and play, with responsive and fluid controls. But that doesn't mean the game is easy to play. Make no mistake about it -- to say Creature in the Well is tough is an understatement. The game's difficulty starts off easy enough, but quickly ramps up to almost frustrating proportions. Timing, aim, and even a little bit of luck all have to align just right to finish the adventure. But more important than all of these is the ability to think strategically, to figure out how and where to best place your shots. And though it's easy to want to give up on some of the harder parts of the game, that's usually right about the time you come up with the right solution and find yourself even more eager for the challenges ahead.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about challenges in gaming. What are some ways that video games challenge players, both mentally and physically? How can games strike a balance in difficulty by offering up a challenge without becoming too frustrating? Why is it rewarding to beat a difficult stage or game?

  • How can gaming help improve critical thinking and problem solving skills? How can the skills learned in games be applied to the real world?

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