If at first, you don’t succeed, try try try…. You get the point. This rogue-lite, Castlevania hybrid keeps you on edge with fast-paced combat and brilliant dungeon crawling elements. Dead Cells for the PlayStation 4 was a game that until about a week ago, I heard nothing about but am overwhelmed with how fantastic this game from Motion Twin is. I wouldn’t be lying when I say it could be an easy contender for Game of the Year.
Dead Cells allows the player to take the role of the protagonist known only as the prisoner. You find out that you have been executed but you don’t know what for. While progressing through various dungeons you will come across different weapons, treasure and other tools that will aid you in your progression through procedurally generated levels as you fight the many types of undead enemies.
When killing enemies they will drop Cells, these are a form of currency that can be used to unlock bonuses for the character but only at the end section of the dungeons. You will also collect money, which can be used to buy weapons, upgrades and an array of other goodies from different NPC’s around the dungeons. Though if you die you’ll lose everything and have to go back to the beginning of the game! And have to start all over again, yeah and you thought Dark Souls was cruel. Each time you die the game will randomly generate a new dungeon, so your experience in the game will feel different every time. This was something I thought was pretty neat and fell in love with.
The combat is simple and easy to get your head round, timing is a key in this game and you could say that death isn’t really a punishment more of a learning curve. Similar to the Souls series in a sense that enemies have different patterns when attacking, if you can master them then crawling the dungeons becomes that bit easier. Though watch out for the array of jump scare enemies that pop up out the ground. They caused me to die many a time.
You have ranged weapons as well as melee, you get side arms like grenades and throwing knives, these are great and help extend your arsenal when playing. I love the different ways in which you could build your character and love the selection of weapons at hand. You can come across armour too, these grant extra boosts like burning effects or leaving a pool of poisonous gas that does damage to enemies. Finding the perfect set up for your play style is one of the things that makes this game awesome as I thought countless times that I was using my favourite set up but then you’ll find something much better and stronger.
I found the game to be graphically pleasing and very unique in the sense of design; the game’s dungeons and characters really make it stand out from other games on the market. The game is going for a more retro look but offering the modern day level of gaming we expect, Dead Cells really hits the nail on the head when it comes to its art style.
The enemy designs are brilliant and I love how the main protagonist looks too, even though the protagonist is just a humanoid with a smoky flame for a head and is silent (most of the time) you can really get to love him/her. Having random moments when the prisoner shows confusion, frustration or agreeing with NPC’s, it’s this simple interaction with the games world that is flawlessly pulled off to make an amazing but simple protagonist. Then we have the games UI system and the little weapons Icons that you see, everything seems refined and well designed, and as I said before they have nailed it.
Finally we have the soundtrack which does get a bit repetitive but I’m not complaining as I really enjoy listening to it.
Yes, I would say there is a sense of replay value in Dead Cells. You can have multiple saves that will allow you to customise your character in different ways so you can experience the different play styles and builds. You also have trophies to collect, which will keep you coming back to explore the game to find each area and to face the bosses, called Keepers. Fighting the keepers is such a rush and a load of fun, and once defeated you feel a sense of reward. Then you have the games world that will change every time you die, so everything will feel new and fresh.
Dead Cells is a 2D side-scrolling masterpiece. Full of life and enjoyment that I personally feel is lacking in some games nowadays. I love every minute when I’m playing this game, whether that be frustration from dying multiple times or happiness because I managed to get further than I did the time before. The studio should be happy with what they have made and I strongly recommend this game to everyone. The last time I got hooked on a game like this was when Monster Hunter World first come out and now I can see myself sinking many hours into Dead Cells. Thanks to its procedurally generated dungeons you find new stuff with every play through and it’s the little things with this game that make it one of the best games of 2018. So it’s without a doubt going to get a 10/10 from me.