There are some phrases that turn me off stone cold. “Hollywood” because it’s a normally bad influence on development and production in general. “Based on the film…” as the quality will usually end with my time being wasted. The terms “Metroidvania” and “Roguelike” though? I understand others love them, but they have both never really been my thing. “Roguelikes” lack the progression that excite me and “Metroidvania” titles usually seem to be about getting lost repeatedly. With both of these ideas in mind, a combination of them both should have killed my enthusiasm dead in its tracks – and yet somehow Dead Cells had me completely interested.
Maybe it’s because of the smooth animation style or the general aesthetic style? Maybe it’s because of its clear Dark Souls inspiration, which is a series that still excites me in ways that are considered forbidden in some countries. It’s hard to put my finger on it but something had lured me in. I spent about 25 minutes with Steve Filby of Motion Twin discussing their upcoming game, Dead Cells. We also discussed their previous work on some free-to-play games.
Overall, my thoughts on Dead Cells are really positive. The two criticisms I mentioned at the start about “Roguelikes” and “Metroidvania” style games are completely absent. As you claw your way through the dungeons you unlock new items, depending on how many kills you manage with different enemies. As well as this, the “Metroidvania” angle pertains more with the general structure and not with forced backtracking.
There’s also a large variety of weapons and gear you can pick up along the way and each one provides a nice twist to the gameplay. You are even able to opt for a non-melee approach. Sure, you’ll die and badly, but the option is theoretically there.
With the type of brutality present in Dead Cells, it is fortunate that the gameplay is so incredibly tight. Even though I consider myself pretty naff at “Roguelikes” and “Metroidvanias”, I was ducking and weaving with the best of them. Something nice about the dodge function is that it has invulnerability frames, so when you do die for the hundredth you won’t feel cheated. It’s frustrating in a good way but always fair.
The over-hanging question that dangles over Dead Cells pertains to its environments and bosses. Sadly, being locked in a castle cellar is something I’ve seen too many times. Plus, while the first boss does technically work, here’s hoping that the rest of the bosses don’t stick to the drab formula of humanoid creatures. As long as both can keep it mixed up and keep me on my toes, Dead Cells may end up being an incredibly strong title.
Dead Cells is looking at a PC release some point in 2017. Click here to visit the official website and stay current on all the updates as its release gets closer! You can also make sure to keep an eye on Bagogames because we will make sure to have the information for you as soon as it’s available for Dead Cells and any other games coming out!