Dead Cells

This is coming late, but the Baguette update to Dead Cells is out! I figure since the latest update is out, I should do my review of my most played game of last year. Dead Cells is a rogue-lite metroidvania game in that it is a 2D platformer with procedurally generated maps and a progression system with upgradable and unlockables. You play the prisoner, a previously executed individual who is trying to escape the island.

Dead Cells is often compared to Dark Souls and that is a poor comparison. The difficulty is what draws the comparison. That is really where the comparisons stop. As you progress with each playthrough things become easier, allow you to overcome the previous obstacles and move to the next challenge. You repeat this then as you go through more difficult stages and face more difficult enemies.

Stages progress through different biomes, using procedurally generated maps to give you a unique experience with each playthrough. Some paths you choose to take are easier or more difficult and the rewards you get in various currency, weapons and active use items. The system caters to however you want to play.

Progression in each run comes down to what weapons and active items you use. There are various melee weapons, shields and ranged weapons for your primary slots. Each primary item has its own situational use to cater to different playstyles. Active items have a large range of uses from turrets, grenades, buffs and traps. The active items are all cooldown based and change the strategies you will use. A more recent thing added is mutations, which will give you any range of buffs from more dps to reduced cooldowns based on their associated stat.

You will find scrolls on each playthrough that can increase any of three stats. They used to buff specific things, but have changed in more recent patches. The stats are red (brutality), purple (tactics) and green (survival). Each one of these will boost your health with diminishing returns, give boost to their corresponding mutations and increase damage of your weapons and active skills based on their color.

Added even more recently was the blacksmith. You are able to upgrade your items to make them more powerful, giving you more use for gold. It introduces plus items and legendary as well. These allow for more affixes to the items and increases their DPS.

There is a reason that I put so much time into the game. I’ve dropped similar games like this, but what keeps me coming back is the feel. I am a huge fan of old castlevania games and this gives me one of the best feeling experiences. The feeling of nostalgia with a challenging difficulty will keep me playing this game, when other games will come and go. The cost and replayability are definitely worth the experience. You can play Dead Cells on PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One and Playstation 4.