Indie publisher Bigmode, established by popular YouTuber videogamedunkey, has revealed its first title, Animal Well. It is a puzzle platformer about surviving in a haunting pixelated world full of different creatures.

Billy Basso's Animal Well is the first game to be published by Bigmode

Jason “videogamedunkey” Gastrow shared the news about Animal Well in his latest YouTube video. The game’s announcement also appeared on Bigmode’s official website.

This will be the first title published by a label that Dunkey founded last year together with his wife Leah “Leahbee” Gastrow. The company is said to help independent developers with distribution, funding, QA, porting, and localization.

“I understand what kind of ideas always work, what ideas never work, what kind of ideas are fresh or need to come back, and what is extremely played out,” Gastrow noted back then, also saying that Bigmode will offer “the most developer-friendly contracts possible.”

What is Animal Well?

Described as “pixelated wonder rendered in intricate audio and visual detail,” Animal Well is a puzzle platformer / metroidvania where the player has to explore a mysterious well and interact with its inhabitants.

“It’s a game coming from a very pure place of love for video games,” Gastrow said in a video, adding that it will reward players “for toying with its mechanics” and offer “some of the coolest animal interactions.”

Animal Well is being developed by Shared Memory, a one-man studio founded by Billy Basso in 2020. He previously worked as a software engineer at Level Ex and Mortal Kombat maker NetherRealm Studios.

In an interview with Prankster101, Basso said Animal Well draws inspiration from older Commodore 64-style games. “It’s sort of a game that doesn’t hold your hand, and you just kind of play it at your own pace and explore,” he noted.

Animal Well is expected to arrive on Steam and PlayStation 5, although it doesn’t have a release date.