Dead Cells Review
In the past I was never what you would consider a fan of rogue-like games. Dead Cells came and went without me really even acknowledging it’s existence. Up until 2020 when a friend of mine could stop singing the praises of Hades, which took the gaming world by storm that year, and still to date is one of the best “indie” games I have ever played.
Since then I realized I was honestly missing out on a satisfying game loop I never knew I would have enjoyed as much as I do today. After that I would often try different ones such as Neon Abyss and Curse of the Dead Gods. All the time forgetting about Dead Cells. So it was time to correct that, with all the news about the upcoming Castlevania Expansion, it was time.
Dead Cells is a 2D side-scrolling “roguevania”, a combination of procedurally-generated roguelike games and action-exploration-based Metroidvania games. The player controls the Prisoner, an amorphous creature that can possess human corpses. The Prisoner explores a fictional island infested with mutated monsters, which must be traversed so the Prisoner can kill the island’s King.
When the player dies, they lose all weapons and upgrades obtained in a playthrough, excluding a few permanent items. Weapons primarily include swords, bows, shields, and placeable traps that harm enemies that come near them.
In combat, the Prisoner can dodge across the ground to avoid the attacks of enemies, or jump over the attacks. Dodging into an enemy’s space allows the Prisoner to move through them and attack from behind.
When falling from a height, the Prisoner can slam into the ground, allowing them to stun enemies, or allow the Prisoner to fall from heights without getting stunned themselves.
Levels are procedurally generated by the merging of predesigned sections in a random configuration, creating dungeons with many different placements of enemies and items.
Between dungeons, the player can obtain a limited number of mutations, benefits which grant unique bonuses to the Prisoner’s capabilities that last until they die. The player can reforge weapons during this time, giving the reforged weapons new effects during combat. Inside the dungeons, the player can find hidden Power Scrolls, which increase the Prisoner’s hit points and increase the damage of weapons depending upon the tool’s classification of Brutality, Tactics, or Survival.
The player can also find multiple permanent upgrades called Runes, which allow for new methods of travel in the game’s levels. Runes can be obtained by defeating powerful Elite enemies, which are located inside the game’s levels. Each upgrade requires the previous Rune in order to obtain the next one.
Now that the game has been out for quite some time there has been a lot of updates and enhancements to the game, including some fun costume changes to make the Prisoner look like characters from other famous games.
It doesn’t do anything to change the gameplay, but is a fun little treat. You also are able to obtain weapons from other games as well for a fun twist on the gameplay.
Overall I am REALLY enjoying this game and can see myself playing it for a long long time. The runs even when you get really good at the game can be done relatively short so it makes for a quick time waster or a pallet cleanser from other games for sure.
I am going to check out some of the existing DLC for this game as well before the CastleVania one drops. But this is a very easy recommend.