This is amazing. It's also infuriating.
Downwell is the sort of game that combines a very simple premise with a deceptively high skill ceiling. Upon startup, the tiny pixelated protragonist is resting in a tranquil field, and strolling a few yards over to the right reveals a well. Given the title of this game, obviously you're supposed to jump down said well, which begins a never ending free fall through dangerous subterranean environments. You can jump, move left and right, and shoot a limited number of bullets out from your "Gunboots" to eliminate obstacles in your way. Outside of a handful of upgrades that you can purchase or discover, that's it. And it's infuriating.
The game's frantic pace and punishing difficulty make it crucial to master every nuance of the limited tools that are available to you. When you fall, you fall very quickly, and you'll want to do anything you can to slow your descent to stay alive. Firing projectiles from your "Gunboots" (I love that name) causes you to momentarily hover, and landing on certain enemy types will cause you to gracefully bounce off of them. Stringing together enemy kills while never landing on solid ground builds up a combo meter to provide you with rewards, but you will run out of ammo if you don't land on something. All of this pushes you to delicately thread the needle in a way that feels impossible to sustain for very long.
In fact, the game is designed around your failing to do so. Other than an ongoing tally of all of the gems that you've collected throughout all of your playthroughs (which mostly serves to unlock different cosmetic tweaks to the game), all of your progress is completely reset upon every death. Each game is very quick, however, and it's easy to restart immediately at any time. Additionally, the specific layouts of each environment are randomly generated, so every new game remains challenging and fresh. This creates a powerful loop where I die, mutter some swears at my computer monitor (which I assume takes great offense), and then immediately want to give it another shot. It's like Super Hexagon and Spelunky joined forces to create one of the most compulsively replayable games that I've ever encountered.
I don't see myself coming back up to the surface for a while now. Please send your love down the well in the meantime.