The Game Tutor Examines Dead Cells
1st Jun 17, 02:17
Now the best way to describe Dead Cells is a rogue-lite Metroidvania. Basically, imagine if every time you started Symphony of the Night the layout of the Castle was sorta similar but different and while you kept all of your key items and the bosses were dead you had to regain items on the fly every time similar to something like the Binding of Isaac.
There isn’t really a story to speak of (or at least not at present) but essentially you are a body continuously brought back to life each time you die by some sort of fungus and are hell bent on reclaiming cells for your decomposing body.
Either way, the story is not what is key here and play second fiddle to the stunning gameplay which might very well be some of the best 2D action gaming I have ever played… yes… it really is that good.
Every game starts at the beginning with a sword and either a shield or throwing weapons. As you complete more and more runs you unlock more equipment that gives you better starting gear, increased potion capacity and a better portion of the previous gold amount you had.
As you travel through the stages, which can each be completed in a number of ways to enter different areas, you pick up different weapons. The 2 face buttons have a sword and a throwing item or shield and you also have 2 side weapons on cooldown that range from grenades to turrets.
Getting good combinations of these but still learning how to use them to their advantage really is the key to success. While it is fun unlocking some are definitely better than other and I feel people really going for perfect playthroughs will selectively unlock weapons to increase the chance of getting one that they want.
The weapons are all really different. Some swords give a bleed effect, others give a crit when used for behind and others do double damage when you have half health. All of these swords increase in level as you progress and have random modifiers not too dissimilar to a run of Diablo.
While you do keep some things between runs and boss items are always unlocked you do inevitably have to start again when you die (and die you will) sometimes death is not too bad and other times it can be heart wrenching but each time I was desperate to have just one more go. Dead Cells is probably my favourite rogue-lite I have ever played… there I said it.
Every run through sees you get that little bit stronger and that little bit able to get further into the castle.
The environments are beautiful and distinctive (we’ll ignore the lazy palette swap toxic sewers and old sewers.) with such areas as the Ossuary and the Ramparts being particularly beautiful. Time is also a factor and as you playthrough, you will encounter doors that lock after a certain time into the run. Luckily, however, these just seem to contain goal and rarely are you punished for not meeting these sometimes brutal time limits.
Dead Cells is about trade-offs. Do you open the cursed chest and accept the punishment or do you use the sword that doubles damage you deal but also damages you receive?
These little things keep you engaged and are thrilling to play with. Some fo the most exciting moments are when I am very low on health desperate to get to the next zone so I can bank my souls and not lose anything deep down knowing one hit and this run is finished.
When I started the game I was rushing to get through each level as quickly as possible and sure that is one way of playing it but then I came to realise taking a more methodical approach and slowly killing and clearing everything can often yield better rewards.
The developer says the game is half finished and that is a very exciting prospect as already the early access version is a must buy and a game I am so excited to continue playing as it develops. Expect to see this well up in my game of the year list this holiday season.