Dead Cells is an upcoming adventure platform game with procedurally generated elements – they call it a Roguevania. And I love it. Let me explain why.
Just Freaking Look At It!
Other than the description, which already had me pretty sold, the Dead Cells graphics blew me away. It’s pixel art, but it ain’t your grandma’s pixel art. It’s animated spectacularly well and it uses modern shaders (similar to Enter The Gungeon) to ensure it looks modern rather than a full-on 90s retro experience. That means particle effects and reflections look absolutely amazing.
Add to that the fact it runs at a rock solid 60 frames per second. You should know by now why 60fps is important for an action game. The combat has a good, solid feel to it and your character responds immediately when you hit the controls.
How It Plays
From my very first run I knew Dead Cells had something special. The character has an air of mystery about them. The controls are tight. Combat feels visceral and every weapon swing matters. They claim the combat is “Souls-like” and I’m inclined to agree. There are multiple little hints as you progress that Motion Twin actually has a really detailed world built behind the scenes.
One of the biggest mistakes that the rogue-lite genre makes is not making every run worth something. You can play the game for a long time without feeling like you’ve unlocked anything or made any progress in the meta game. So unless you beat that boss or reach that area your progress is essentially nothing. Dead Cells doesn’t work that way. You retain some of your money between runs, which can help you buy things in a future run. Each cell you collect from enemies feeds into permanent character upgrades (assuming you complete at least one level), even if it’s only a little at a time. All of these mean that even someone who is really bad at the game can basically buff themselves for future play. It’s a genius move and one that I wish more games followed.
So Dead Cells has the basic game mechanics down already. It’s still in Early Access with a long way to go, but I honestly think it would be hard for them to mess it up now.
Let’s Play Dead Cells
You can watch my Dead Cells let’s play series on YouTube or right here: