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Animal Well: The Indie Gem Set to Eclipse Hollow Knight's Legacy

Andrew Singleton 14 May 2024

With the indie gaming scene constantly evolving, it's rare to encounter a title that unilaterally captivates critics and gamers alike. Yet, Animal Well has emerged as a beacon of innovation and depth within the saturated metroidvania genre. Developed by the solo indie dev Billy Basso, this game has been a labor of love, with nearly seven years devoted to its creation. But what exactly makes Animal Well stand out from the crowd?

At its core, Animal Well is a masterclass in how to properly execute a metroidvania with intrigue and complexity. Drawing comparisons to the critically acclaimed Hollow Knight, Animal Well is not just a game — it's an experience. The labyrinth-like design combined with carefully crafted puzzles set a new standard for what gamers should expect from indie games. Critics from leading gaming outlets such as Eurogamer and GameSpot have showered praise for it, highlighting its inventiveness and the palpable passion that went into its development.

Behind Animal Well's success is Billy Basso, a name that has not been widely recognized in the gaming community until now. Basso's background as a programmer for game studios like NetherRealm provided him with the foundation to undertake this ambitious project. But more than just a technical feat, Animal Well represents a heartfelt homage to the metroidvania genre. With support from industry veteran Dan Adelman and the publishing backing of Bigmode, a company founded by YouTubers Jason "Videogamedunkey" Gastrow and Leah "Leahbee" Gastrow, Animal Well's reception is a testament to the game's quality and its creators' dedication.

One of the most intriguing aspects of Animal Well is its promise of hidden puzzles that may take years for players to fully unravel. This aspect alone sets it apart from its contemporaries, offering a post-credits game that elevates the entire experience to new heights. It's not merely about reaching the end but embarking on a journey that continues to challenge and surprise long after the initial playthrough.

In conclusion, Animal Well is shaping up to be not just one of the year's best games but a milestone in the Metroidvania genre. Its blend of challenging gameplay, inventive design, and a post-game filled with secrets redefine what indie games can achieve. As it climbs the ranks among Steam's top sellers, it's clear that Animal Well's legacy will be remembered alongside greats like Hollow Knight. For anyone looking for a game that offers depth, challenge, and a genuine love for the genre, Animal Well is a must-play.