Let’s Talk: Dead Cells

Hey there, welcome to what I hope is the first of many opinion pieces. Currently, I’m going to call this series of post by the name “Let’s Talk”, But honestly I find that title pretty plain. Once I come up with something more fitting I will go back and update the titles of all previous posts. 

Dead Cells, a game first released onto Steam early access back on May 10, 2017. Version 1.0 of the game released August 7, 2018, onto a variety of platforms including PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch. Even though Dead Cells released to high praise from most reviewers, receiving scores in the high 80’s and 90’s, developer Motion Twin does not anticipate creating a sequel. 

I just want to start out by saying that I initially purchased Dead Cells on steam when it released into early access. I maybe put in a handful of hours at most, mainly due to other big game releases at the time. I really enjoyed what I did play of the early access version of the game, but I have to say I’ve enjoyed the 1.0 release of the game far more.

At its core, Dead Cells is a roguelike, Castlevania-inspired action-platformer with levels that change with each run through. Combat in Dead Cells is very 2D souls-like while fairly simplistic it can be hard to master at first. The combat controls are very basic, you have your primary attack, secondary attack/block, as well as 2 gadgets that can be equipped such as grenades or turrets. You then have the dodge mechanic which you will soon realize is your best friend, as well as a refillable potion that you can use throughout the game.

While the combat in Dead Cells is fairly easy to grasp it takes much more to make it deep into the game. I often found myself dying to enemies that I rarely faced, making me learn and memorize the move set of each individual enemy. While the basic enemies tend to have just one move at their disposal, Keepers the bosses in Dead Cells will have three or four. You will die when fighting these bosses but again once I found myself memorizing the attack patterns, and move sets I had a much easier time.

As you progress through the game you will make your way through a variety of different gameplay environments. Starting out in a dungeon-like setting as you work through each level you will come across doorways that take you onto the next stage of the game. Each run through Dead Cells will usually offer you different doors that way you never really end up feeling like you are repeating the same thing over and over again. 

When you pass through a doorway and venture onto the next part of your Dead Cells journey, you are first met with an in-between area where you can spend the cells that you earn throughout each run. Cells which are a lot like skill points in a sense can be spent on a variety of upgrades such as increasing the number of times you can use your health flask or upgrading the rarity of the random weapons you start with. There are a ton of upgrades in Dead Cells, all that help make progressing through the game just a bit easier with each run you play.

The visual aesthetics and level design, along with the fun little bits of story throughout the game, and even the audio design which is amazing, all make Dead Cells a fantastic game, one that you can pick up and play for hours at a time or even just pick up for your commute to work or school. Dead Cells is the type of game that rewards users for all their hard work, while at the same time causes a feeling of nervousness and fear of losing all your progress to permadeath.

At the end of the day, Dead Cells is a game I can firmly stand behind in saying as being one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in 2018. 

My name is Masky, I like videos games so I play them a lot.

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