Animal Well

Animal Well

released on May 09, 2024

Animal Well

released on May 09, 2024

What lurks beneath the surface of this deceptively minimalistic adventure? In Animal Well there is more than what you see. Explore a dense interconnected labyrinth, and unravel its many secrets. Collect items to manipulate your environment in surprising and meaningful ways. Encounter creatures both beautiful and unsettling, and try to survive what lurks in the dark.


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Perhaps the most fun I've had with a game like this since playing Fez for the first time many years ago. The world is great to explore, filled with nooks and crannies. The items at your disposal are incredibly fun to use and play around with. The atmosphere is incredible. And the game's many puzzles were extremely satisfying to piece together and solve, all the way down to the very last secret in the deepest layers of the game (that we know of).

This review contains spoilers

(0/10) - No spaghetti and meatballs >:(

A very special combat-free experience that elicits a sense of discovery that ranks among the best the Metroidvania genre has to offer. The various tools you have at your disposal, and the way you use them, are so fun and creative. And the environmental design aids in creating incredibly satisfying puzzles to solve and secrets to find. I also love the feeling of traversal, the general aesthetic of this strange world, and the amazing background music. This is the kind of game that long after rolling credits, I still felt the draw to scour every nook and cranny (and yes, look up things I was not smart enough to figure out on my own), just to be sure I got my eyes on every single idea that developer Billy Basso had to share with me.

"you just barely scratched the surface!" my ass. i hate arg shit that just MUST be implemented in good games nowadays. i wish there was at least a warning at the beginning how this game cannot be 100%'d without the help of the community/internet, but i get to know this only after i complete the game normally and see "arg solvers" credited and think "oh no. well, i hope it refers to an arg outside this game". and then i suffer over impossible puzzles thinking that i can actually solve them, only to finally give up, search for the solution and feel so annoyed. this is a single player game, am i wrong? why do i have to communicate with other people in order to solve a puzzle?
i feel like all of those puzzles were implemented just for those youtube iceberg videos praising this game for its billions of layers or something. i don't care about other people solving ciphers in discord servers, i am just a player who wants to enjoy this game and it's beautiful visuals, atmosphere, sound design, and find different solutions to riddles that you can ACTUALLY solve yourself.
do i really have to be excited over some deep puzzles that have already been solved by other people within days of the game's release? i am not one of them, so don't ruin my single player game experience please!!
I won't let my annoyance over arg slop ruin my overall score - it's a very good game if you just collect all the eggs and stop right after.

Admittedly, I haven't really played this as I've only rolled credits but it's surprising how much this clicked with me despite usually being opposed to metroidvanias. Maybe its the lack of combat and reliance on platforming mechanics that kept me engaged here but I found this a much more gripping game than any other metroidvania I've played.