If there’s one way to make me want to continue playing your game, it’s to make me feel like a badass. Dead Cells does it, so it gets the Badass Award 2018!
Had there been a procedurally generated Metroidvania before? I don’t know, but Dead Cells made it feel like a genre that not only should exist, but has existed for years.
First of all you’ve got the absolutely gorgeous pixel art. I especially love the lighting (I’m a sucker for good shading) and particles. I mean just look at it. Secondly, you’ve got some very tongue-in-cheek comedy writing in there, with great character animation to back it up. Thirdly, and most importantly of all, the feel of the combat is spot on.
Dead Cells was in Early Access for a while, so it’s no surprise they got it so right. But man did they get it right. It’s fast, it’s fluid and every hit feels as heavy as it looks.
These days, calling a game “Souls-like” is becoming a bit of a throwaway term. Just because a game is challenging doesn’t make that true. Again, that’s where Dead Cells takes the idea and runs with it. It’s quicker paced than Dark Souls, but the combat feels like it matters and even a single mistake can ruin your entire run. But then, unlike the Souls games, if you die you can’t just go back to get your stuff, because the items and level layout will be different.
But the real reason for the Badass Award is that when a run is going well, you really feel it. When you can clear the trash enemies in a single hit or just run past them without worrying, you feel that adrenaline rush. When you accidentally hit the wrong button and end up in a room packed with 50 monsters, you somehow believe you can beat them. Bad. Ass.
My First Look video was a long time ago during Early Access, but the main gameplay hasn’t changed that much. Here it is:
Buy Dead Cells at Green Man Gaming here (affiliate link)
Buy Dead Cells on Steam here