Videogamedunkey’s publishing house drops first game—and it’s getting rave reviews

Bigmode Games, a publishing house founded and operated by popular YouTuber Jason “videogamedunkey” Gastrow, has launched its first game, Animal Well. This artistic Metroidvania is already getting fantastic reviews from critics and players alike, with many praising its art style and unique take on retro graphics.

Videogamedunkey shared the news of the game’s launch on X (formerly Twitter) today, May 9. He didn’t have much to say regarding the launch except promising players that the game is genuinely good. And he appears to be right, as Animal Well is already noting fantastic reviews. Though not too many players have yet played it, there are already some 200 reviews on Steam, of which 97 percent are positive. On Metacritic, the game is enjoying a 91 average score out of 18 critic reviews and has even earned a Metacritic Must Play label, adding to the increasing tally of fantastic indie hits that have challenged the big shots of gaming in 2024.

Image of a level in Animal Well featuring strange cats.
Animal Well boasts a unique and atmospheric art style. Image via Billy Basso

Animal Well is an indie endeavor by a single developer, Billy Basso, who has spent over seven years actively working on the game. The game is marketed as a unique take on the metroidvania genre, where players are tasked with “exploring a dense, interconnected labyrinth,” solving puzzles, and “surviving what lurks in the dark.” Eurogamer called it “astonishingly rich” and gave it a 10. Destructoid gave an identical grade and praised the title for its content, claiming there are “more things to do and secrets to find” than similar games.

The publisher, Bigmode Games, was founded in 2022 by YouTuber videogamedunkey and aims to elevate indie titles and bring them to a wider audience. The company’s mission and choice of games appears to be similar to those of Devolver Digital. Bigmode Games is also set to publish Star of Providence, a bullet hell roguelike with a retro look.

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