Animal Well Review | GamesRadar+

It seems odd to call Animal Well a Metroidvania, even if the cap fits, because it feels more like a type of game that predates Metroid itself. For those of us of a certain vintage, its faux 8-bit décor conjures images of ancient arcade adventures that dumped you into open-plan worlds with little to no information about what you were supposed to achieve. Harsh, yes. But every screen was a discovery, every puzzle a mystery, every insight a revelation. And that’s the case here too.

Fast Facts

Release date: May 9, 2024
Platform(s): PC, PS5, Switch
Developer: Billy Basso
Publisher: Bigmode

Indeed, in keeping with those old school values, Animal Well clamps its cards so close to its chest you’d need a crowbar to take a peak. It’s not even clear who or what you are as you emerge from the spreading petals of a plant on the opening screen, no more than a bouncing blob with a pair of pixels marking your eyes. True, you receive a sliver of guidance once your map is stamped with the locations of four flames, but how you reach them, or why you should, isn’t about to be explained.

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