Dead Cells

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Dead Cells

Postby DjchunKfunK » Wed May 17, 2017 9:53 am

This is a great 'roguevania' which came out last week and I've been enjoying it a lot. Despite it being in Early Access it is one of my favourite rogueike games in a while.

Here are some words about it.

After the lovely art the first thing that stands out are the controls, they feel really tight, allowing you to dodge and move out of the way of enemies and attacks connect with a satisfying heft. This has meant that for the first time in one of these games I actually enjoy the act of killing stuff. Often fighting enemies is just a means to an end, something I have to do to progress through the level, but in Dead Cells I find myself enjoying the flow and feel of the combat.

As for the structure of the game it is similar to Rogue Legacy in that each run allows you to upgrade your skills. However in Dead Cells you collect two types of currency, gold to buy items from the shop and unlock golden doors and then cells which you use to unlock upgrades and any new weapons or items, blueprints for which can be found throughout the game. The catch is that you have to make it to the end of an area in order to spend the cells at the lab and bank any blueprints you find. If you die before that everything is lost apart from a small percentage of your gold.

During a run you can also pickup health/attack/and skill upgrades which last for that run only. Healing is done through a vial which must be unlocked and then once you have done so can be used to heal once, or twice depending on how far you have upgraded it. This vial can be refilled between areas.

The Castlevania comparison is a bit more apt as there are abilities you can unlock via runes that drop from elite units. These allow you to explore areas of the map you were previously unable to reach with the first one you get giving you the ability to grow vines. Along the Castlevania theme each area has more than one exit which will take you to a different area which in turn gives you more choice over how you wish to proceed.

Another nice little feature is that as you progress through the game you find weapons and items which are more powerful allowing you to more easily face the challenge of the later areas. These weapons and items also have random properties to them so a sword you pickup might have a chance to throw out a dart every time you attack.

The weapons themselves are nicely varied. There are various swords you can get which will cause bleed, do more damage when attacking from behind or crit on the third hit. There is also a whip which will automatically attack the nearest enemy when used.

Along with the weapons you can also have a shield to block or a bow and arrow and then as you progress through the game you find items, of which you can have two equipped at a time. These items include a turret, traps and bombs of various descriptions. The items are not one-time use things, which is great, and the cooldown on them is fairly short. In fact I might go so far as saying it might be too short, but that could just be because the early areas don't require you to use them that much. I will say that in later areas you do need to use them to help clear groups of enemies.

One more thing I will flag up is that often in these games you make a beeline for the exit as you don't want to risk dying or losing a lot of health early, but also because it can be a bit laborious to explore. Dead Cells gets round that by having teleports throughout the area which allow you to easily go back to a fork in the road and explore the other way. Obviously you still might die, but the ease with which you can move around areas is very smart design. It encourages you to take that risk in the hope that you find a new weapons, item of stat upgrade.

My only real complaint right now is that the procedural generation is perhaps not as good as it could be. The village area in particular can often be very similar each run, but I'm sure they can tweak this. The other thing is that it might be slightly lacking in weapon and item variety. I've been playing for around 2-3 hours and I think I've found nearly all the weapons and items. However the developers have said that they aim to double the amount of weapons and items by the time the game launches and hopefully they also use Early Access to tweak the level generation.

I've been pleasantly surprised at how good this game is to play, especially for something in Early Access. I am very reticent to buy games that are in EA and I had been looking out for Dead Cells for a while so I was sad when it only came out via EA with a claim from the developer that they were going spend 6-12 months in EA before the game would be released. I nearly didn't bother buying it, but I'm glad I did.
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Re: Dead Cells

Postby Rusty » Wed May 17, 2017 12:17 pm

It does look really nice.
I have feeling I may get annoyed with it as I prefer first person shooters but things like permanent upgrades entices me.

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Re: Dead Cells

Postby eVoL » Wed May 17, 2017 1:57 pm

Looks like something I'd play the crap out of on Vita but wouldn't look on on pc
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