Dead Cells is a metroidvania style platformer from a small French developer called Motion Twin. A team of only 10, previously working on mobile games exclusively, they decided to focus their efforts and bridge into the console world, and did they ever! In august of 2018, Dead Cells was released on all major platforms, and just a year later, an ios port was launched as well.
Packaged neatly in all of the trimmings of a polished metroidvania game, exists a unique and engaging spin on the arcade platformer genre. In Dead Cells, you practice the never ending mantra; Kill. Die. Learn. Repeat. In an almost poetic intro scene, you drop out of a strange tube as a living, amorphous blob. You land in an eery prison cell, and quickly roll yourself to the nearest suitable corpse. With haste, you rise to your feet and realize just how insignificant you are. No heroic backstory, no ancient lineage of noble dragon slayers to rediscover and uphold... Just the corpse of a recently decapitated prisoner, that you just animated with your blob-consciousness. You quickly power up and rise to your feet, looking like the Prince of Persia with Ghost Rider's head!
Waking up in prison
You realize that this prisoner somehow retained his blade, because you have one! Woo! Take a few jumps around to warm up your new legs, and you're ready to explore. In the next room, you're met by a friendly warrior who tells you your fate. You're immortal! You can't die... well not really anyways. In this moment you realize the true beauty of Dead Cells. Each death is real, in the sense that your body is mortal, and your spirit will need to navigate to a new one each time you die in game. There are consequences to this, brutal ones, but more on that later. You find some bare essentials strewn upon the ground and suddenly you are faced with a choice. Sword, Shield, and Bow. You can equip only 2, (But you want all 3).
Sword beats Shield
Next you will find yourself effortlessly picking up the dynamics of gameplay. Controls are quick and responsive, combos string together with ease, dodge rolling gets you out of tight situations, and downward slam ensures you always get the drop on your enemies. You can push through the first few castles in hack n slash style, but be warned that relying on that tactic too long is deeply punishing! You are going to need to be tactical, using all available weapons, minding distances, and paying close attention to enemy types. The element of surprise is your best friend, dropping in on a group of enemies in close quarters can be useful if you carry quick and deadly close range weapons, such as daggers. If you're carrying ranged weapons, drop wolf traps and sinew slicers ahead of you to pin a group of enemies, and rain hell from a far with a bow or throwing knives. Shields are incredibly useful as well, offering bonuses to well timed parries, negating damage, and even dealing damage if you have the right one. Be mindful of the the special effects your weapons carry; Combining a frost spell and a whip that does extra damage to frozen enemies for instance, can make quick work of even the toughest baddies. Re-roll your weapon's abilities by speaking to a Forgemaster between levels, to shake things up and get those powerful weapon combos.
Ice, slice, baby..
Explore everything! On your first play-through especially, make sure to leave no stone unturned, no corridor un-searched and leave no chest behind! Absorb every power scroll and scavenge every bit of coin you can. After all, The baddies waiting for you in the next castle will be buffed up, will you? You're also going to want all of the cells you can possibly carry, in order to purchase Gold Reserves, which will allow you to retain a certain amount of gold upon death.
Bonus Tip: Cells must be spent after each run in the Forge room. The door will be locked until you spend all you have, but what happens if there's nothing that you actually want to spend your cells on? Lucky for you, this door is actually completely breakable! Bust it down with a melee or arrows and you can walk right on through, save your cells for the Legendary forge. Hoarders, you are welcome.
Currently you can play Dead Cells on almost every existing platform! Here's a quick breakdown of where you can get it right now;
- PC/Mac OS: Find it on Steam
- PS4: Playstation store, hard copy.
- Xbox One: Hard Copy, Microsoft store, free with Gamepass.
- Nintendo Switch: E Store, hard copy
- iOS: Apple app store
When released on iOS originally, Playdigious who partnered with Motion Twin to bring Dead Cells to mobile, had commented that Android would be coming next... There was no official release date set. Now however, they have confirmed via twitter that it is coming Q3 of this year!
Dead Cells has been out for nearly two years, why should you care now? In short, Dead Cells has never been more polished or more accessible. Available on nearly every single platform known to man, polished with patches, updated with DLC and cheaper than ever, it's just begging to be rediscovered! Enjoy a trailer on us, and let us know if this was helpful by commenting below.
And remember, Kill. Die. Learn. Repeat...
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