ANIMAL WELL - The Qt3 Secret-Hunter Club

Let’s just get this started.

I’m only a little way into the game, so I’m just solving its devious little platforming puzzles. But I take it there will be plenty to talk about for those who have spent a few hours on the game.

Questions! Mysteries! Hints! Post here!

Notable for those who check in, this is the first game published by videogamedunkey’s BIGMODE publishing.

An observation. That seahorse thing can fuck right off.

Getting good reviews. 5 stars from Eurogamer, for instance.

A reminder: if you have PS++ you have access to it. I’ll try to download it tonight to my PS4 unless it turns out to be a PS5 only title, but with these graphics, I can’t imagine why that would be. Except maybe Sony wanting to give it away to only PS5 owners.

Man, this thing is so good. I thought I’d play for an hour last night and stayed up way too late after it sucked me in. I’ve rolled credits on the initial quest, which was satisfying on its own. None of the items appeared very useful, but they can each be used in wildly creative ways. It’s a thrill to realize some early item languishing in your inventory can be used to solve a puzzle you’ve been banging your head against.

But after the main quest, the game keeps getting weirder. Like Axiom Verge, the game seems comfortable handing you tools that would break early puzzles wide open to give you access to harder ones.

If it’s the one below some cranks, I think grabbing the cranks kept it from blowing me around (unless I just got lucky.)

Now to throw a question to the groupmind: (postgame spoilers) does anyone know what the tiny gap on the map screen under the right lip of the “Animal Well” is (top center of the map)? I’ve bubbled down and examined it with the lamp and I don’t see anything. Hitting that section of wall with the frisbee and yoyo also yielded nothing.

Bought it. Reviews were solid enough that I had to. Not sure when I’ll play, but I will, and then I’ll come back here ;)

It’s not that. There are some switches on the ceiling. You use bubbles to reach them. I know what to do, it just feels so tedious. I don’t know. This might not be for me. I’ll keep going for a bit longer.

BTW. I don’t think this is a spoiler. It’s just a normal room.

Huh. No PS4 version. At least not on PS++. No Animal Well for me.

No Xbox version either. But it’s on Switch, and runs really well!

Steam deck verified too.

I have one flame left, and it is the one I am dreading.

The ghost dog

I had to laugh at the “Egg as a service” egg.

I’m stuck on the *** flame as well. I’m right in front of it. Arggg…

I finished the “layer two” postgame today and I’m satisfied closing the game. I looked up the answer to one of the initial ARG-style “layer three” puzzles and decided it was way too much work for me. Very neat concept, though!

I really enjoyed this game. It reminded me of a much larger Gato Roboto, because it’s a very focused Metroidvania where every screen had a purpose.

Good luck! If you’re interested in any hints, because I banged my head against it for a while: I was able to do it by using the flute to lure the ghost away and then teleport three screens away. And once I got into the two rooms west of the shrine, I could loop clockwise through the two rooms west of the shrine without getting trapped if I missed a jump somewhere.

In case anyone else is curious, I was mistaken in my testing above. Later on, the remote revealed the right spot and I was just able to jump through it :)

Hit credits and doing post game stuff now.

Overall really good. Not too difficult, lots of secrets and surprises.

This game is really good. For someone who isn’t super great at platformers, (I can beat Mario games, but not the secret levels stuff) this is very playable. I was really worried because these retro styled indie platformers tend to want to cater to a certain crowd of very hardcore players who love retrying levels over and over.

I was able to roll credits at just under 7 hours played, only had to look up a couple puzzles, but honestly I probably shouldn’t have. I was worried I was missing an item or something, but there was never that thing where in a lot of metroidvanias you lack the tools to progress, and end up hitting your head against a wall. You will have the tools you need to progress the story, that place you can’t get to, is either something you can do (and you haven’t figured it out yet) or a secret you will come back for.

There are 4 flames to collect, and each flame area can be completed with the tools you are provided in that area. Coming back later with new tools will only unlock previously hidden collectables and items. It is very well designed that way. I was able to defeat all 4 bosses without much trouble, it was fairly straightforward what was needed for each, and they were not terribly difficult to complete. They are designed very well, as the area you went through to get to them will have taught you the mechanical knowledge you need to complete them.

There are a couple frustrating platform-y parts, and it is quite annoying where some of the save rooms are placed. I think that losing all of your firecrackers when you die fucking sucks and is a terrible design decision that lead me to just quitting the game and respawning at my last saved checkpoint (with all my firecrackers). When you have a design feature that is save-scummable, it is bad. You don’t really need the firecrackers to progress the game, but for a couple of the puzzles they are useful in making them less… stressful (not to spoil anything).

Honestly it is best going in blind and collecting as much as you can and completing the 4 flames and final boss without looking things up. This is by far the best part of the design of this game, you truly will never be “stuck”, all of the hidden and inaccessible rooms are really only needed for post game stuff where you will unlock tools to make getting to those areas possible.

There were a couple puzzles that I had figured out, but the execution was the issue, and in almost all of those cases, it was a simple room reset to retry. There are a couple puzzles, however, that if you fuck them up you are trapped and have to go the long way around to restart them, those were very annoying, and I would have liked better save room placement on those.

Overall, incredible work for a single developer project, the atmosphere, music, puzzles, platforming all work super well. It looks gorgeous on the big screen, and it really sucks you in.

Minor Spoiler hints if you are having trouble early on:
Eggs You want to collect at least 8 eggs, this unlocks a tool that will make traveling the map easier.
Matches You will not have enough of these early on, just mark the locations down to come back when you do have a match
Dog Shrine Think “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, you can progress without the disc for a long time, no need to fight off the dog right away.
Dog Boss Animal flute is a godsend, and a handful of firecrackers can buy you time if you miss a jump.
Extra tools It is sometimes worth it to head back to areas you completed to see if anything is opened up with the boss no longer around

4/5 and will likely be in my GOTY considerations. I will likely continue playing to unlock the rest of the tools, don’t think I will go for 100% eggs, but I will probably mess around and complete the easy endgame stuff.

Anyone playing this on Steam Deck? I can get it for ‘free’ on PS5, but I’m traveling this week and could get this to play on Deck instead.

Yep! Plays great.

THANKS FOR THIS. I was working on this and wishing I could have a gentle hint, and that was exactly the one! I actually tried taking a nearby bubble-tube trip down to the room with the sine wave screen to try to stall the wolf, but that was not as effective or as much of a shortcut as fast traveling.

I’m not sure this one is for me. The platforming is just a bit too twitchy, and the save points too far between.

If you feel like a save point is far away from a tough puzzle, chances are with a little more exploration of the area you’ll find a closer one. Not always, though, and I do think that there are places where some extra telephones would avoid some irritation.

On the twitchy platforming, personally I found that I mastered the physics after an hour or two and it started feeling a lot less finicky to me. I was always bumping my head on the corners of ceiling blocks when jumping, but eventually I could zip through nearly everywhere. I think it’s a sign of good physics that eventually your hands just absorb the finer techniques of movement.

I rolled credits on this. The core game is very good! The hard parts not actually as hard as they might seem (with an exception or two), and I have a lot of things to follow up on in the second layer. And some ideas on third-layer stuff to fiddle with.