What do you get when you combine Castlevania mechanics with Dark Souls mechanics? Why Dead Cells of course! This is the perfect combination of Metroidvania gameplay and the difficulty of Souls type games. And to think this has a really small file size. Here’s some details to munch in.
Platforms: Xbox One, PlayStation 4, PC via Steam, Nintendo Switch
Developer: Motion Twin
Publisher: Motion Twin
Release Date: August 7, 2018
Review code provided by Motion Twin
I’ll say this ahead: I reaaaaaaaaally like this game. Anyways, onwards!
Graphics: One of the best 2D sidescrolling visuals I’ve ever seen
Dead Cells is visually 2D and some criticize that as a low-budgeted game, but this one is really something else. The animations are so fluid and everything flows into motion without any delays at all. Even though it is in 2D, the visuals are beautiful to look at and it still inspires me to continue playing the game even though it is very difficult. The character designs are pretty interesting as well since they are reminiscent to the Castlevania series, which are pretty interesting and unique. Again, the fluidity of the character animations is great as well as making it so easy on the eyes. One of the best 2D games with awesome visual effects. I cannot give them more praise than this actually.
For graphics, I give them a solid 10. They are the best right now in my book.
Story/Lore: There’s no story but tons of interesting bits of lore all over.
I think there’s really no story here. Well, it’s just introducing you to this slim guy who gains the power to possess dead bodies and gain more powers by killing enemies and stuff. Pretty straightforward, nothing deep, and I like it. There are however a loooooooooooot of small side stories or lore all over the place. Stories of dead prisoners trying to escape, stories of living prisoners who do not want to escape and wants to live in peace, stories of kings, innocents and tons more. It’s these little tidbits that spice up the game a bit and not just make it super straightforward. At least there’s something to look forward to when you see some secret entrance or something.
For Story/lore, I’ll give this a perfect 10. There’s no need for a super deep plot, but hey, tons of lore to read along the way.
Gameplay: So much fun with so many things to do
Imagine the grace and beauty of Castlevania but you’ll have to survive for one whole playthrough in order to get to the end or else you go back to the start, Souls-style. That is what Dead Cells is all about and it is not frustrating at all. The reasons? Well for starters, if you unlock certain abilities along the way, you get to keep those awesome abilities even if your character dies. Sure, you’d have to get back your items and weapons back all over again, but the ones you unlock will be there already like life potions, money that you can recover, and more. It’s not that super punishing and it drives you to go through it again and again even though you go back from the beginning. Yeah, it’s some sort of torture, but it’s a good one to do.
The weapons and gadgets are well thought-of too. You can use swords, two daggers, whips, shields, bow and arrows and more for your main weapons, while you can use traps and bombs to get that extra oompf against your enemies like freeze, burns, and more. It’s all up to you how to use these weapons properly in order to gain advantage against several enemies or big bosses.
There are some nifty little secrets that you can unlock as well. These can give you useful weapons, traps, grenades, and other stuff that can be helpful along the way. There’s also a merchant that you can find in a stage so you can buy some awesome gear. After traversing to another stage, you’ll go through a checkpoint where you can unlock more abilities by using the souls that you collected along the way. You can also fill up your potions again and fill your life bar to full and then you can go to the next stage. I see no problem with this because it’s so simple and not that punishing.
For gameplay, I’m going to give this a super high 10. Dead Cell is super fun, not frustrating, simple, and tons of stuff to unlock.
Music: Makes you hype up as you traverse the game
The music is awesome to listen to when fighting against the most difficult enemies that you’ll face throughout Dead Cells. It pumps up your adrenaline when it suits the stage and situation, and can even make you mess up if you get too nervous. There’s no boring section in the game because of the soundtracks. The sound effects are pretty on point too from the sound of the sword slashing to the winds blowing through the towers. There’s no voice acting though but it doesn’t need one anyway, it would’ve been too overreaching if it had one. I would’ve even subtracted a point if they did that.
For music, I’d score this a perfect 10 too. The game’s soundtrack is just perfect and the sound effects are always on point and in synch.
Replayability: Because Souls-type games make you go back again and again
Is Dead Cells too hard for you? Thinking of finally putting down the controller because you can’t take it anymore? You sure about that? How about all of the souls that you racked up so far? The bonuses you got? The final and super awesome weapons you found so far? You just want to discard all of those? Well, not all of those of course, but this game makes you go back again and again. It’s this mechanic that makes players think that they should finish the game through before they can step away from the keyboard or put down their controllers and finally leave the game alone. There are just too many items that are at stake that it makes you think twice. Yes you died too many times and it frustrates you but deep inside you really want to beat this game until you complete it. That’s a very high replay value for me. I ain’t done until everything is finally done!
For replayability value, again, a full score of 10! It’s so addictive that you wouldn’t want to stop playing.
To sum things up, Dead Cells is the perfect game to play over and over again with perfect 2D visuals, awesome music, great game mechanics, and nostalgic Metroidvania gameplay spiced up with Souls-type features. This game is a keeper and you should definitely play it again and again if you have the time.