The Depths A Review of ANIMAL WELL (Switch)



  • Explanation of diegetic gameplay
  • Rare occurrence of games teaching without text-boxes

Overview of ANIMAL WELL

  • Minimal text boxes, primarily used for saving
  • Designed with mystery and clear intent
  • Metroidvania-like experience

Exploring the Well

  • Immediate immersion into a dark dungeon
  • Main objective: retrieve four flames
  • Use of puzzles, pathfinding, and switches

Visuals and Atmosphere

  • Retro 8-bit or 16-bit aesthetic
  • Stunning lighting and depth of field effects
  • Enhanced experience on OLED displays

Gameplay Mechanics

  • Importance of lighting and field of view
  • Distinctive locations and atmosphere
  • Acquisition of power-up items
  • Satisfying combination of traversal and puzzle-solving

Combat (or Lack Thereof)

  • Absence of active combat
  • Reliance on platforming and distraction
  • Challenges presented by boss battles

Secrets and Collectibles

  • Abundance of hidden secrets
  • Essential use of map
  • Unique approach to exploration and discovery

Comparison with Other Games

  • Contrasts with games like Prince of Persia and Metroid: Dread
  • Focus on player exploration and sequence breaking
  • Tension and mystery in gameplay experience

Criticisms and Suggestions

  • Tediousness of boss battles
  • Obscurity of some secrets
  • Request for option to toggle distress sounds
  • Short length for players not pursuing all secrets


  • Unique and engrossing gameplay experience
  • Future potential for the metroidvania genre
  • Despite flaws, highly recommended for players seeking intricate design

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