YouTuber videogamedunkey’s (Dunkey) indie studio Bigmode announced its first video game — Animal Well, a horror platform title inspired by Zelda and Metroidvania. Animal Well features pixelated artwork and a dreary setting rendered in intricated audio and visual details. The story of Animal Well is still mostly a mystery, but players take control of an orb figure who gets stuck at the bottom of a weird well.
Animal Well is being developed by Billy Basso, a video game veteran who was a former programmer at NetherReal Studios. Basso announced Animal Well in February 2022, but it was only just revealed that Bigmode Games will publish the game as its first title. Bigmode does not have a release date for the game on the official Bigmode website, but players can put the title on their Steam wishlist right now. Animal Well will also launch on the PlayStation 5, but no other console or hardware is listed.
Bigmode Games is a video game publisher launched by Dunkey and his wife. Dunkey, real name Jason Yevgeniy Gastrow, is an internet personality most well-known for his humourist video essays and skits on YouTube. He is one of the most successful video game critics on YouTube, with a subscriber count of over 7 million. He launched Bigmode Games in September 2022 to help “good games succeed and help them continue to succeed into the future.”
Animal Well is about the orb coming across strange animals, including a large chameleon, a flock of blackbirds, and a playful dog that wants to bite into it at the bottom of the well. Players will solve puzzles and avoid animals to unravel the “well’s secrets.” The game uses a custom engine/renderer that was built specifically for pixel art on modern hardware. Pixelated style has become a very popular aesthetic within independent games because it’s a throwback to older titles from the NES and Super Nintendo eras. Animal Well is meant to evoke the style and presentation of the original Legend of Zelda, Metroid, and Castlevania games.