Downwell is a fast-paced 2D rougelike released in 2015 by Moppin wherein you descend a well, shooting bullets from underneath you to slow down your fall and combat enemies. The game is available on PC and mobile, although initially the plan was to only release it on mobile as it was designed for phones (which is to say, it's a good port, you won't miss out by playing on mobile). Moppin has said that he loved Spelunky and wanted a game like it that he could play on his phone.


The game is very tightly designed in all aspects, in terms of gameplay it feels like there's very little left unaccounted for, weapon changes give you stats so you'll always have a reason to pick them up, overhealing lets you increase max hp, making it so that health is never wasted, combos alleviate the tedium of a rougelike's earlygame and just generally make the game more fun.


The game also has some surprisingly good sound design, nearly everything makes a sound, all of them rich and identifiable, a lot of information is conveyed through sound alone (the way everything gets muffled when you get to Aquifer is so good).


For its art downwell uses monochrome plus a highlight color which is a style I absolutely adore, this also allows it to easily swap out one or more colors to instantly change the look and feel of everything, in fact, these palette swaps are unlockables, and are how this game does meta progression without stumbling into the pitfall of letting you "unlock" your way to victory, which if you ask me, has become a sort of plague for rougelikes recently. This choice of color isn't purely aesthetic though, as it's used to highlight enemies that deal contact damage and generally bring things that need it to your attention.


One thing Downwell often gets criticized for is its lack of replayability, despite having random upgrades after each stage most runs end up looking the same by the end, stages, while also random, have no real diversity between runs staying the same just in a different order, the aforementioned palette swaps are only cosmetic and the game doesn't keep track of completion percentage, so there's little reason to want to unlock all of them. The game does feature a fairly extensive hard mode after you beat it but once your done with that the previous issues remain. Regardless, I still get the occasional urge to boot it up but most seem to tire of it after a single completed playthrough.



The tomato is a secret item akin to Spelunky's eggplant, it appears in place of the last shop right before the boss if the player hasn't entered any side rooms throughout the entire run. For your troubles the tomato rewards you with 8 health and 10 charge, not really worth the hassle it takes to get it but hey, you get to hear the secret "Tomato funk" track. Additionally a crude jellyfish (pictured above in the aquifer section) will appear at the start of 3-1 if you're en route for a tomato run.


Downwell has a TON of unused content, which is a delight to sift through with any game. There's more than is listed on TCRF but for that you'll have to go looking at the game files yourself, for which I recommend UndertaleModTool, you can use it to open and edit the "" of most Game Maker studio games.


A talk Moppin gives where he shows off his previous game prototypes, some early downwell builds and NIUM, a scrapped game he was working on at the time, he also talks about how he went from opera singing in university to game dev.