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Review - DEAD CELLS - A Dark Souls "Roguevania" equivalent?

Dead Cells - Upgrades
Dead Cells - Logo

  Already perfectly playable and immensely satisfying since more than a year, Dead Cells is now officially released and, no surprises, it's as incredible as we knew it would be.

Get ready to jump, doublejump, run, climb, dodge, roll, slash, dash, duck, evade, air-roll, and parry in what might be the best mix of roguelite and metroidvania game you've ever seen.


Store Platform OVERALL RATING: 95%
Buy it on GOG PC
 + THE POSITIVE
+ Magnificent art direction
+ Difficulty is perfectly balanced
+ Orgasmic progression
+ labyrinth-like level design
     + Roguelite mechanics at its best
     + Very diverse bestiary
     + Satisfying combats

 - THE NEGATIVE
- Music is a bit uninspired
- No story whatsoever
- Still SLIGHTLY grindy to unlock upgrades?
Buy it on Amazon PS4
Buy it on Amazon Switch
Buy it on Microsoft Xbox One

Dead Cells - IconA ROGUEVANIA? 🀨

Genre:
It's a fast-paced 2D rogue-lite action-platformer, with some Metroidvania elements. 

  Dead Cells developers themselves describe their game as a "roguevania", combining the procedural generation of roguelike games with the action and exploration of Metroidvania games.

  So, like in most Metroidvanias, you'll unlock new abilities on your way, which will give you access to previously inaccessible areas, and like in most roguelites (say roguelikes if you want), if you die, you start right from the beginning!

Think Rogue Legacy combined with Iconoclasts. (or rather Chasm, which is more classic, which is what the developers were aiming for.)

Dead Cells - traps
 
The Story:
Ahem... What story?
All we know is that you're on an "unnamed island"... And you're an "unnamed prisoner"...
That's a good start...
Dead Cells - giving the finger and saying fuckYou look like a punk with a cool flame in place of your head. 
You're also totally silent, which doesn't help understanding more about your situation. 

  A nice touch though, you do have some personality, and you're not hesitating to give the finger when you're frustrated...
Your body can die, but your flame head seems to be indestructible, as it goes back to the starting cell when you die.

Dead Cells - teleporter
Once you find the teleportation rune, you'll be able to use these and teleport to previously unreachable areas!

Note!
The game always had some bugs here and there in the previous version, but we didn't encounter ANY bugs in this v1.0, and the game is finally perfectly optimized and stable! (There are some complaints about a few bugs on the Switch version, though!)

GAMEPLAY - THIS TIME, IT'S OKAY TO SAY IT'S LIKE DARK SOULS πŸ˜‹

  Alright, we know that most of you are really getting tired of seeing EVERY game out here being compared to Dark Souls, but... For once, this time, this is REALLY appropriate!
This game IS Dark Souls in 2D.

  And boy, this is so incredibly well done! The perfect and smooth controls (on either a gamepad or keyboard) are so satisfying that you're always eager to try new weapons(90+ to unlock! Swords, bows, spears, traps, etc!) and skills, while jumping around like a skilled acrobat(reminds us a bit of the 3D Prince of Persia games...) to discover new paths and blaze through labyrinth-like levels with a big grin on your face. 

Dead Cells - explosive crossbow
Some people love it, but I would advise you to avoid the explosive crossbow, as it's way too slow.

Speaking of progress, you'll WANT to do your best to explore 100% of all available areas if you want to get the most of out of the game! And yes, many of them are VERY well hidden... Maybe even too much?

 Anyway It's simply a pure pleasure to master all of the numerous gameplay mechanics (weapon movesets and unique combos!) in Dead Cells. Every little move you can perform feels and flows naturally, thanks to the perfect collision detection and hitboxes, and we didn't encounter frustration, we didn't get stuck, and we didn't ragequit... (Yes, really. Just take your time to learn every enemy pattern, the game is fair.)

Despite being hard, Dead Cells does NOT hold your hand, and this feels good. You're on your own right from the beginning.


Dead Cells - gore slashing
Oops sorry, you were saying? It was rude of me to "cut" you off mid-sentence.


  Although you do have to keep in mind that like Dark Souls, when you start, you'll die miserably, and once you'll learn your enemy patterns, you'll progress like a breeze.


THANKS GOD FOR PERMANENT UPGRADES!
  Although you do lose all your progress when you die like in any roguelite, you do have access to permanent upgrades! Collect "cells"(the in-game currency for upgrades) after killing enemies.

  Then, at the end of each level, you'll be sent to "the Collector" room, which allows you to buy blueprints or upgrade the damage of current weapons by exchanging cells.

Dead Cells - the collector
The famous "collector", without which Dead Cells wouldn't be nearly as satisfying!

A final note, the game can be played infinitely, since it's a roguelite(every run will be different), but you'll get most out of it in averagely 30 hours of gameplay time

  And we disagree with the few negative reviews which complained about repetition. Dead Cells' procedural generation is so well done that it never really feels the same, which is not the case of every Metroidvania. (the recent Chasm is great, but often feels the same in every new run!)  

Dead Cells - tickling green slimes
In Dead Cells, you can tickle green slimes. Has anybody done a hentai version of this, please? I'm asking for a friend.

  Again, we have to congratulate the developers on how perfectly balanced the game is. Although items and weapons are also totally randomized on every run, you'll be able to beat the game no matter what your equipment is...as long as you have the skills! he he😜

MAYBE the unlock system is still a bit grindy... Let's hope it'll be improved in future versions!

Note!
Although the game is already marvelous, the developers don't want to stop there! More DLCs and updates are coming! Actually, LOTS of them, according to what they say...


Dead Cells - Icon 2GRAPHICS - DARK AND COLORFUL AT THE SAME TIME 😍

  While not featuring the best pixel art out there, Dead Cells has some of the most artistic locations ever seen in a roguelite.

  On a technical level, it's actually quite impressive, as the game is actually in 3D, NOT 2D!! The post-processing effects and various techniques transform the game in what looks like a gorgeous 2D pixel art game!
(more information if you want to know how they did it: CLICK HERE)

Dead Cells - Some areas are reminiscent of the Castlevania games
Now I want to play some good old 2D Castlevania. Hey, what do you think is the best 2D Castlevania game ever made? I remember loving Aria of Sorrow on GBA.

  Maybe this is why the main character and enemies animations are a real treat to witness. Everything looks super smoothly animated and feels "alive".

  In Dead Cells, not only the gameplay mechanics, but also the areas are very diverse and rich(there are 13 of them!. They all have their own characteristics and particular memorable atmosphere, making the experience varied enough so that you never get bored, and you'll enjoy going back to each area to explore some more!

Dead Cells - gorgeous backgrounds
The artists managed to give us the feeling of exploring a forgotten world, which was once glorious, but now slowly decaying... On the other hand, it never really looks extremely dark and grim.

MUSIC - TOO DISCREET AND UNINSPIRED πŸ˜ͺ

  The music is actually very pleasant to listen to, as it's very discreet and almost relaxing, but does it go well with such a somewhat frantic "fighting" game?
Somehow, it almost feels demotivating, and we would have imagined instead something either much more epic, or why not melodious and classical?

Here, the slightly tribal music sounds more appropriate for a slow-paced exploration adventure game.  
  However, if you love it, you're in luck, as you can buy the OST on GOG here! => CLICK TO GET THE OST


SFX - SLASHING NEVER SOUNDED BETTERπŸ”ͺ😜

  Realistic slashing sounds, eerie ambience, creepy monster voices, the soundscape is very well done in Dead Cells! We usually prefer "vintage" SFX in 2D games (although it's 3D...), but this time, it works wonders, and helps immersing you in that particular atmosphere.

You really feel the strong impact when you break through doors or "dive-attack" an enemy.

Dead Cells - panoramic view of the upgrade room


RATING BOX
Dead Cells - Game cover


VERSION TESTED: v1.0

Publisher:

Developer:

Release Date:
6 August, 2018


Single-player

Difficulty: Hard 


Store Platform
Buy it on GOG PC
Buy it on Amazon PS4
Buy it on Amazon Switch
Buy it on Microsoft Xbox One
GRAPHICS: 90%
Colorful, vibrant, harmonious, it manages to captivate and make you daydream about the once glorious civilization you're exploring.
MUSIC: 70%
Actually pleasant melancholic tribal music, but too quiet, discreet and uninspired to go well with the epic combats.
SOUNDS: 86%
Eargasmic fights, embellished by lots of realistic environmental sounds!
GAMEPLAY: 96%
Great combat system, great replayability, great controls, great difficulty... Everything is great about Dead Cells gameplay. We fail to find any flaws in it. Too much grinding to get upgrades, maybe?
OVERALL RATING: 95%
Maybe the best of its genre. Grandiose, gorgeous, and gratifying.
We just don't know what to tell you anymore. If you don't like this game, you're crazy. <= best argument ever, and we'll use it in every "MEGAHIT" review from now on.πŸ˜‚ 
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