Developer: Motion Twin
Designer: Sebastien Bénard
Publisher: Motion Twin
Reviewed on PC
Dead Cells is the most fun I’ve had getting my butt kicked since Dark Souls 3. That’s not to say it’s all that similar to Dark Souls, to which I’ve read several comparisons. There is an element of “souls” gathering/losing but Dead Cells is pretty purely a roguelike at its core and metroidvania on its surface.
It’s the ultimate metroid-vania rogue-like, of which there have been many entries. You journey through a randomly generated ever-changing landscape, finding runes and collecting cells for a mysterious figure called The Collector. If you manage to find him during a run, he will reward you with stat bonuses and other cool perks that will carry over each time you die, so the idea is to rack up as many of these perks and find as many ability-unlocking runes as you can in order to make longer runs, furthering the adventure along with the surprisingly captivating story.
Playing on Steam with a steam controller felt seamless and smooth. The action was buttery and hits and movements felt extremely satisfying. It can be quite intense but well-thought out, intuitive and responsive controls keep you coming back for more no matter how many times you feel overwhelmed. A lot of times with these kind of games, I do get that frustrated feeling and often I am driven to quit and play something more interesting. That is not a problem with Dead Cells, as its easily one of the better executed indie titles out there.
The sound and music are both sort of subdued but always feel right. Nothing glaring or ugly about it at all, but not much to write home about either. The graphics, on the other hand, there is a lot to say about. I do love the overall look and style of this game. It’s old school and simple but sprinkled with some very nice and clever details that always keep it interesting. There is a drawback to randomly generated landscapes and that is details and quirks are hard to get across and Dead Cells does suffer from some of that, but honestly it’s barely worth mentioning because of how well everything else works. By no means did I ever feel bored with the look or anything else about this game. On the contrary, I am still currently dealing with a pretty serious Dead Cells addiction.
I have to say this is the finest title I’ve personally had the pleasure of reviewing for the fine folks at GWW. It’s slick and smooth, well thought out and tons of fun from start to finish. Building your collection of perks and runes is as addictive as it gets and there is a very intriguing little mystery to it and these elements intertwine with near-perfection. I couldn’t recommend this game more, especially for the price. Personally, I’ll probably be grabbing a second copy for my Switch!