Repeat and repeat. “Dead Cells” emphasizes the player to keep strategizing and learn about the various features in this game. It’s a gothic game that combines Metroidvania and rogue-like.
“Dead Cells” is just actually “Dark Souls” but when something you found it frustrating yet hard doesn’t mean that the games are the same as well because everybody always says that; “Dark Souls” this and “Dark Souls” that. You know, it’s a time when critics shout to get out of it. When a bunch of indie games that come out with the concept of levels is so difficult, it’s just like this is something like “Dark Souls” or anything. Anyway, “Dead Cells” is a roguelike that at least spends a lot of my free time. A real positive response about this game because I saw how millennials only thought that when graphics were realistic so it was worth mentioning as video games even though the gameplay was unplayable. Indie games strive to introduce new styles of inspiration from previous games, especially retro games. With creativity as a push of the game, “Dead Cells” introduced a combination of two styles between Metroidvania and roguelike by Motion Twin.
“Dead Cells” is a video game combines two different things in one space that’s truly the same. It’s about the player fighting against formidable enemies who’re ready to finish you off. On the other hand, this game will make the player feel frustrated like a roguelike game in general. One thing that’s certain is patience and strategy are the main keys in this game and one thing that’s certain that the more you die, the more you will improve and get to know the existing levels and master them again in the second experiment and continuously. At first, the story isn’t one of the main concepts where I see the power of indie games usually lies in the story itself. Apart from using Metroidvania as a concept, the story introduces much through cutscene and dialogue about ambiguity, vague information from various locations that the player finds that it takes some time if you prefer to compile the stories.
The player acts as a green blob in the form of something that is weird but hard to define but we certainly know it as dead cells. Its role is to absorb a variety of headless corpses that are at the bottom of the prison and these clots control the corpse, come back to life, can fight, and have high intelligence. But let’s talk about what the gameplay shows by the developer. The level is so diverse and unique in its terrains. When a player dies, the level change in a non-linear way. Instead of only showing the same level, the pattern always changes like a roguelike game in general. The Metroidvania concept is also a separate challenge, the more complex the impression be if you play very far, the difficulty will increase. The two genres can be fairly identical to indie games for now as well as some of the ones I’ve reviewed such as “Iconoclasts” with its Metroidvania concept, “Celeste,” “Cuphead,” and “Nuclear Throne” with its roguelike concept. Like Metroidvania games for some games, “Dead Cells” is a 2D side-scrolling game like retro or NES classic games in general.
Instead of the checkpoint, if the player dies then everything will be repeated from the beginning of the level from where the green blob is at its origin. Not that, the concept of the game is very ridiculous just because it follows the main plot of the game but in reality, the game offers a random designs dungeon in every detail which impress like gothic vibe. Dead is the main point in this game. The more you die, the more you will get to know this game, its enemies, weapons, levels, traps, bombs, and you will be easy to adapt to it regardless of offering a repetitive concept with its random nature. On the other hand, I bet that some kind of people will say it’s repetitive and monotonous because that’s all the game can be offered. “Dead Cells” prioritizes features like various weapons that you can use as you wish with a variety of special skills depends on the player too and enemies with a variety of uniqueness as well. You will continue to study, adapt, and fight the world in this game.
Existing levels not only become levels themselves but this game offers various features of the level such as a teleportation system which allows the player to explore more levels that you haven’t explored and found more secret zones, a system of two items where only one item you can choose, and a treasure chest to get various equipment and in-game weapons according to you stick with it. But, there is some kind of type when you race with time. If you can access the sealed room in a quick way then you will find lots of rewards, equipment, upgrades, and other valuable and attractive prizes in order to improve the character as strong as possible. Cells are also the main point in this game because these points will make your journey and exploration easier. You spent a lot of equipment, skills, traps, bombs, etc. using these cells but if you die at the middle of the level then the cells that you collect will disappear and start from the beginning again. The point is you have to spend these cells at the transition or break times so you can access the next level.
Runes are also the main important point in this game. You get those items by defeating various kinds of bosses or exploring certain locations in order to get them. Runes in here also have different abilities as the player can grow plants instantly so that they can access more detailed levels, a wall run that’s useful for accessing some secret zones that you can’t reach, knocking down floors, and so on. The item is also permanent. There is gold where you can spend to buy various in-game weapons but its effect just temporary and not permanent. Unlike cells, gold becomes a money system in the level but not to buy something that will appear continuously but only in-game. There are blueprints which are a design item that you cannot use but requires a number of cells to get the weapon. Mutation is a buff for characters. This buff can also be found in weapons you use that are useful for upgrading damage to characters, adding more HP characters, and other effects.
Although this game uses a roguelike system, there is autosave at certain points if you just want to quit your game, the game will autosave. Apart from that, this game doesn’t use a checkpoint at all and the player must do it in a linear way with one try from beginning to end. Interestingly, “Dead Cells” don’t use a different boss system because this game moves in the same linear line. The difference is just the level design with a random pattern and not the same for the after and before. There is some kind of twist when you first play this game such as meeting a new enemy, first time seeing the first boss and new levels that make the difficulty level even harder. There are several possibilities in certain levels where the player prefers to pass everything rather than eradicate one by one because the farther the level, the more aggressive the enemies are.
The music is combined in the same variant way as the weapons are displayed so much but are unique to each other. Besides the gameplay and smooth animations, it’s an enjoyable yet playable game that’s so exciting but tense when you get something new. In essence, slow but sure. Just like “Celeste” or “Cuphead” where you have to learn a lot from your mistakes, you really feel the air and the nuances of your character getting stronger, the longer you last, and be more agile when you learn it. “Dead Cells” seems like an RPG action game with attributes you can upgrade too. There are three characterizations found in one level that sometimes you have to choose them depending on how your styles such as brutality, tactics, and survival. On the other hand, there is some level that sometimes provides a mini-boss or this game calls it as an elite or enemies in general but is stronger. Initially, it’s quite difficult even though you already know how the pattern is but if you succeed in conquering it there will be rewards in the form of weapons, blueprints, gold, or cells.
In addition to the variants from weapons, each weapon is unique to each other. There is a type with a heavy one where if you use that it’s so heavy and slow but has great damage and there is a light type and agile but has little damage. There are arrow and dagger as fire weapon and weapons that have effects such as ice attacks which can make enemies trapped for a while, poisonous effect, and various kinds. You can also do various combinations of these weapons besides you’re given two slots for weapons and two slots for items such as traps and bombs. There is also a health potion where you can do healing so that your exploration gets easier but don’t use it as often as possible because the item is also limited unless you completed one level then it will be filled again or you can upgrade it using cells so you can do it much time to time.
“Dead Cells” is one of the indie games that brought new innovations into two different styles from Metroidvania and roguelike. If the story in this game is so powerful, memorable for its character, memorable moments, it might be said as a perfect for other indie games. There are so many features in this game apart from games that allow some people to consider it cheap, repetitive or etc. In fact, this is a game that’s at least so rare for games today. Boss battles that were initially difficult became easier thanks to the player that more caring and repeating them. The animation is so smooth and has a level design that impresses gothic-like with great detail allows. It’s a game with its own art style. Various levels, variants weapon, enemies, equipment, items, and other things make this game I think isn’t too boring if you wasted a lot of times just for this game but it’s a worthy time. Games like this are challenging on the other hand but games like this are not too suitable for people like I said before and people who are easily frustrated.