*Originally published in The Argus Friday, September 21, 2018*
Dead Cells is a Castlevania-inspired rogue-lite action platformer that is as brutally punishing as it is fun to play. The kill, die, learn, repeat mentality is the driving factor behind the game and what makes it such an addictive time killer.
Take control of a failed alchemic experiment as you reanimate a corpse to aid in your exploration of a sprawling, ever-changing castle. The non-linear progression of Dead Cells will see you traverse and fight your way through procedurally-generated levels with the ever-present threat of permadeath. There are no checkpoints in the game so once you’ve died its back to the beginning to start all over again. Each restart will arm you with the knowledge of what you did wrong and hopefully with time allow you to overcome the hurdles you may face. Of course, the game does like to punish you, especially in the latter stages and boss encounters. It is hard to say it’s a fair game but in all honesty, it is fair.
While each death will see you start from square one it never feels like you aren’t making any progress. In each playthrough, you’ll amass cells to spend toward unlocking various abilities that can greatly help boost your longevity within each run. Alongside this, there’s an element of luck in what weapons and power-ups can be found as you traverse the castle. Each playthrough is random and in one, you may struggle then in another you might find numerous power-ups and high powered weapons.
Combat is super intuitive and fast-paced making it really satisfying when slaying your enemies. Dead Cells boast a large variety of weapons each with their own unique twists, try out different types to find your favourite style or to just shake things up. You’ll also unlock blueprints for better weapons as you play.
Dead Cells is an addictive yet brutal game that’ll have you swinging from frustration to enjoyment in quick succession. It’s perfect for when you have a spare couple of minutes jumping in and out for a quick game.