Motion Twin’s rogue-lite, action-platformer, Dead Cells has made its way to home consoles. Inspired by Konami’s Castlevania platforming games, Dead Cells offers intense 2D action with an incredible challenge unlike anything in recent memory.
Perhaps, its the overhanging fear of permadeath or the fact that there are no checkpoints that kept me coming back for more. Or, maybe it was the sense of exploration and not knowing what to expect next?
Let’s take a look at what makes Dead Cells a game that you will keep coming back for more, no matter how many times you die.
Take control of the Prisoner in your quest for freedom
If you are looking for a deep, rich and engrossing story—you have come to the wrong place. Instead, Dead Cells‘ story if very barebones. You aren’t greeted with a flashy cinema when the game starts. Or, even scrolling text to tell you who and where you are.
Instead, you are thrown right into the action, from the get go. As you play the game, you discover that you are a bunch of cells that take over a dead corpse known as the Prisoner on an unknown island. Additionally, as you make your way through out the game’s procedurally generated levels, you’ll encounter other prisoners behind doors and even writings on the wall. All of, which give you tiny glimpses of a story.
To be honest, the lack of a story and the minimalistic approach that the developers took with Dead Cells in this area was a big turn off for me initially. The first half dozen or so times I played, I had no idea what was going on or what I was supposed to do, except for destroying the enemies. Whereas, Dead Cells‘ story is nothing to write home about, its easy to pickup and addictive gameplay is what kept me coming back for more.
Simplistic, yet addictive gameplay
From a gameplay perspective, Dead Cells is easy to master. The platforming of running, climbing, and jumping is all done with simple button presses. When it comes to attacking your opponents, you have four slots shown at the bottom of the screen that are mapped to various buttons.
The first three can be filled with potions, swords, daggers, electric whips, bow and arrows, and shields. The last two slots can be filled with bombs, traps, and turrets. In all, there are over 50 weapons and spells for you to discover and unlock.
You earn money as you defeat enemies, collect cells, and sometimes discover blueprints to build weapons. Money is used to buy weapons and traps, while cells are used to unlock more powerful objects, mutations, and buffs, which help you throughout the game. Enemies grow increasingly stronger as you progress through the game. They range from bats, zombies, giant scorpions, archers and more.
Here’s a tip, don’t be shy spending the money you accumulate. There is plenty to be had and you are going to need every advantage you get to help you make to the end of the game.
Retro style graphics
Dead Cells has a unique retro art style that harkens back to the glory days of the Super NES and Sega Genesis. Correspondingly, Dead Cells’ sprite based 16-bit graphics are filled with colour, and offer some truly amazing lighting effects.
Your character and the enemies are very well animated, and at some points show a little bit of personality. However, on occasion, the framerate takes a bit of a dip. It’s only for a split second or two, so this in no way affects gameplay.
If you are looking for a game with addictive gameplay and one that offers up quite a challenge, you will love Dead Cells. What really drew me to the game was it’s addictive, yet simplistic gameplay. No matter how many times I died and started over, I just simply couldn’t put the controller down.
Additionally, with over 50 weapons, traps, and potions the combinations and damage you can inflict on your foes is nearly limitless. In order to “beat” the game, you have to manage to make your way through enemies and traps for about an hour and half to two hours straight.
Sure that may not sound like much, but trust me, you will put many hours into this game to be able to play for that length of period without dying. Remember there are no checkpoints either. When you die, it’s all the way back to the beginning you go.
I really had fun playing Dead Cells. The sense of accomplishment when you finally make it to the end of the game is truly satisfying. Moreover, I highly suggest that if you are looking for a game to put your skills to the test and has addictive gameplay, pickup Dead Cells today.
+ Offers a great challenge
+ Addictive gameplay
+ Value priced
+ Beautiful retro style 16-bit graphics
+ Procedurally generated levels means no two experiences are the exact same
– Lack of a main story to the game
– Some may get frustrated with the difficulty of the game
– Loading between levels seemed longer than it should be
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4.5/5