Down Ward is a tricky, little platforming game originally developed for the GameBoy Jam 4, in which you play as an owl named Gable as she tries to reactivate the ancient towers of the four-color wilds.
Each level in Down Ward follows the same pattern: you’ll explore your environment, collect all the hidden incandescent feathers, and return them to the sector’s tower. Along the way, you’ll encounter environmental hazards, tight platforming sections, and enemies that will really put your flying skills to the test.
It is Down Ward’s novel flying mechanic that presents much of the game’s (sometimes ridiculous) difficulty. In order to fly, you’ll need to constantly keep up your forward momentum as even a moment’s pause will send you drifting desperately downwards. To make matters worse, Down Ward‘s levels are simply overrun with little cliffs and overhangs that are begging to stop you mid-flight. Once you grasp the basics of these controls, the game doesn’t become easy per say, but successfully swooping across the screen does become immensely more satisfying. Add in some exquisite pixel art and a beautiful soundtrack and you have an immensely difficult game that manages to somehow still feel relaxing.
Even though Down Ward does not completely follow the graphical restrictions of the GameBoy, the game captures a sense of wonderment plucked almost directly from my childhood. If the Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole had been released in 1992, I have a hunch we would have seen something very much like Down Ward as its video game tie-in.
Note: Down Ward has a wide array of different color palettes to choose form. Simply use the ‘-‘, and ‘+’ keys to cycle through the possible palettes. You can also use console commands as outlined on Down Ward’s GameJolt profile.
Download The Down Ward Alpha Here (Win, Mac, Linux & Browser)