ULTRA-INDIE Daily: Alice Down The Bottom of The Well

Hello, you glorious gluttons for all things indie horror! Are you just starving for the newest of the new, the most unknownest of the unknown? If so, you’ve come to the right place. Welcome to the Ultra-Indie Daily Dose! In this series, we’re going to pick a new game every day from an indie horror creator you’ve probably never heard of. No million-dollar budgets or factory productions. This is the space for the little guy with not but a developer toolkit and a dream. So if you’re down to roll the dice on something different, then stick around and check it out!

Man, this game is hard. Maybe a little too hard.

Developed by Red Nettle Studio you can pick this game up for free on steam, or itch.io.

The Bottom of the Well stars our narrator and protagonist Alice and her correspondent Mad H as she recounts her mystifying dream of a post-apocalyptic future. The game makes no hesitance to allude to the Alice in Wonderland analogy but instead of a fantastical kingdom, it’s a grueling attempt to survive the aftermath of the annihilation of our world. Transported there through a dream created by a strange radio tune Alice and the player must survive worldwide annihilation and get to the meaning of this condemnation if there is one.

The game is a Visual Novel with multiple story paths you can choose from. Alice herself is equipped with changeable stats and an inventory of items that will dictate the possible routes the player can take. 

The art style is pretty decent, a bold black and white contrast with red accents. It’s not extravagant as it is a free indie title however it pleasantly fills out each unique location our story passes through. The soundtrack anchors the atmosphere even if there are only a few tracks it lays down the impending impact and the molten aftermath that Alice must march through.

The routes the story takes are rather restrictive, I’ve found only 3 possible routes with many of them entering a fail state if you do not have enough stats or items to survive the circumstances. Many routes end if too much time is spent on choices that were unviable. That being said, it becomes extremely hard to make any progress without memorizing precise routes, and any deviations can ruin a run.

The customizable stats and various items for Alice can make the routes confounding to finish as realigning stats also makes events unfold with different negatives. 
It certainly is an enjoyable free game, worthwhile studio debut, and noted winner of the Write A Game Challenge in 2015. However, I just felt I spent more time speeding through replays trying different routes and options only to arrive at the same fail state. I would have preferred to be in a mindset where I’m able to stay enwrapped in the story and dive down the different outcomes. Needless to say I’m happy for the time I invested into his game.

If you enjoyed today’s Ultra-Indie, check out many other great indie titles you can play here at Dread XP.