Next up is a casual Web game clone of the rare arcade game Anteater from 1982 by Tago Electronics. The game plays like a cross between Pacman and GoldMiner, both of which are extremely addictive games with simple and accessible game play.
Gold Well is an action arcade game in which the object is to clear, or "exploit", each well of all its gold by 'eating' it Pacman-style with a special machine designed for the task: Think Pacman on a string and you'll be close to describing the gameplay mechanic in this one.
Use the arrow keys for controlling the contraption. Move left, right, up and down in the manner you would navigate a Pacman maze. As you move the little chomper, an extensible pipe trails along behind blocking the path. Press the [space] bar to quickly retract the pipe, and little chomper, backwards for as long as you hold the key down.
Monsters and bombs will randomly cross each of the levels of the well during play. You may eat the monsters, but not the bombs. Eating bombs will damage your pipes. You may also let bombs pass by your pipes without harm, but if a monster reaches part of your pipe that is blocking its path, it will take bites out of it until you lose it from excess damage. There are a few different monster types that vary in their speed, ability to eat other monsters, and the damage they can do to your pipe. Become familiar with the qualities of each to know when to retract and when to go for that last little crumb of gold tucked away in the bottom corner.
Your progress in the game is rewarded by an accumulation of gold, which you can use to upgrade your pipes following the successful completion of each level. Upgrading simply adds an additional hit point to the total for a mere 1000g sized nugget. If the pipe took any damage during the level, you must first repair the pipes (150g per hit point) before you can upgrade.
Analysis: I really like the simple and accessible nature of the gameplay, and that it is immediately identifiable to anyone who has played either Pacman or Goldminer before. There is something inherently gratifying about clearing a maze full of yellow dots that I can't quite put my finger on, and yet it has me coming back repeatedly to give it another go. Also nice is if you lose your pipe you can restart the same level as many times as you wish with pipe upgrades intact, but without any accumulated cash. And while there exists a timer that counts down during each level, it is used only to calculate a bonus, if any, at the end. Therefore you can take your own sweet time, if you wish, playing through a level.
On the downside, the behavioral difference between the various enemies creates a bit of depth to the game, though not a lot. I'd like to see even more varied enemy types as I venture deeper into the game, along with crazier maze layouts, but alas I found nothing all that different from the first few levels. Click.