How to Play Downwell

Updated on March 5, 2018
EricFarmer8x profile image

Eric has always loved PC gaming. He plays games on Steam and he loves short single player games.

Downwell is a small indie game that is available to play on multiple platforms. This article will teach you how to play the game.

A screenshot of the title screen.
A screenshot of the title screen. | Source

What Kind of Game Is Downwell?

Downwell, as the name implies, is the journey of going down a well to get to the bottom. You control an unnamed character who bounces and shoots their way to the bottom of levels. Your character starts with four health points, and you lose one health point from touching any enemy or trap on levels. When your character dies, you must restart the whole game.

Your character has gun boots, and you use them to stay afloat in the air and shoot enemies. The game is very momentum-based, and the levels are short and very fast paced. The game takes less than 20 minutes to beat.

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What Types of Enemies Are in the Game?

Downwell has two types of enemies, and on the standard color palette, there are white and red enemies. You can bounce on white enemies to instantly kill them. You can not kill some white enemies by shooting them, and you must bounce on them.

You need to shoot red enemies because if you bounce on them, you will take damage. Most of the enemies in the game are white, and a strategy of bouncing on enemies is the main thing to do. You just need to be ready for when red enemies show up.

A screenshot of the store.
A screenshot of the store. | Source

How Do The Gun Boots Work?

You can't shoot your gun boots endlessly because when you run out of ammo, you will freefall. You need to manage your shots and charges (ammo). To recharge your gun boots, you need to touch the ground, bounce on an enemy, or bounce on a level prop. There are multiple gun modules you can find and use in the game. Gun modules have different charge usage and styles of shooting. Some Gun modules are better at staying afloat, and others are better at doing damage.

What Do You Get from Making Combos?

Downwell rewards you for getting combos. The table below shows the rewards you can receive for getting consecutive combos. Note the game does not reward you getting more than 25 combos, but there is Steam achievement for getting 100 combos though.

Combo Reward Table

Combo Number
Combo Reward
100 gems
100 gems and 1+ to total charge
100 gems, 1+ to total charge, and 1+ max health

What Are Gems Used For?

As play the game you collect gems, and you get gems from defeating enemies and making combos. You use gems to buy items from stores and stores sell health and charges for your gun boots.

How Do the Upgrades in Downwell Work?

After finishing a level, you get to pick from a list of upgrades, and each upgrade gives you a slight advantage in some way. Over time the upgrades you pick could result in a different playstyle. For example, the safety jetpack upgrade is a favorite of mine as it lets you float a little longer when your gun boots run out of charge.

A screenshot of the upgrades screen that appears at the end of levels.
A screenshot of the upgrades screen that appears at the end of levels. | Source

What Are the Levels in the Game Like?

The game has four worlds with three levels each, and each world has a unique theme and is slightly different than the others. Once you unlock hard mode, the levels become even more difficult, and you unlock hard mode by beating the game once. The table below shows how levels are different and how hard mode changes them.

World Information Table

Normal Mode
Hard Mode Changes
World 1 Caverns
There are few enemies and many platforms.
There are more enemies and some chase you if you hold still too long.
World 2 Catacombs
Ther are platforms with spikes that active if you land on them.
Platforms with spikes activate on their own.
World 3 Aquifer
You must get air bubbles to survive.
Air bubbles only appear in the level as individual pickups, and your air drains faster.
World 4 Limbo
There are almost no platforms to land on, and all enemies are red.
There are more enemies and fewer props to bounce on.

What Are Styles in Downwell?

In addition to hard mode, the game has several styles you can use. Styles change things like what gun boot modules you find in the game and how much health you start the game with. The game has five styles to pick from, and each style provides an even more unique way to play the game. The table below shows the styles and how they are different.

Style Information Table

Style Name
How This Style Is Different
Usual Style
This is the default style of the game.
Arm Spin Style
You will only find gun modules in caves. Stores appear much less often, and gems don't appear in caves anymore.
Levitate Style
This style reduces your fall rate.
Handstand Style
You receive a 30% discount in stores, but you no longer receive upgrades at the end of levels.
Boulder Style
You start with six health, but you fall faster and can only get one upgrade at the end of levels.

Some Advice on How to Beat the Game More Often

Try to make combos as much as you can. You will practice getting better at the game and doing this will help with the later stages. Remember to go into the side caves when they appear as these caves can have gun modules and sometimes gems in them. Get a feel for how each world is different as this will help you beat them more often. Try to play defensively. Sometimes is better to avoid taking damage than trying to make a risky combo.

© 2018 Eric Farmer


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      kathy jones 2 weeks ago

      Thanks Eric. I would like to try this game after reading your description & tips! Sounds like fun!