Inspired by The Binding of Isaac, another indie game, Motion Twin developed the fascinating mixture of metroidvania, rogue-like, and action-combat that is Dead cells. This amalgamation may seem confusing and not like a good idea for a well-designed game, but they have been integrated so smoothly that it results in an amazingly engaging experience. The combat is very active, which requires your total focus. Add perfectly synchronized sound effects to that and you have a journey that will help you escape into the dungeon-like world.
Story: The story gives only bits of information to the gamer. In an unnamed island that is a living organism that evolves over time (every time the player dies), the Prisoner is a humanoid with plantmatter in place of a head. He is immortal, with his head managing to go back to the starting prison every time he dies. He was executed for some unknown crime, but he must now fight his way out through the dungeon.
Play Style: You play as the Prisoner who must fight through and find his way out. You fight, progress, pick up a variety of weapons, treasures and other tools to help you aid through the exploration of the procedurally-generated levels. Unlike typical rogue-likes, this game may not be completed in one go. You must progress, die, and restart to get an idea of what is going on and develop your technique accordingly. Platforming and combat require skill, and are the high points of the game. The action is ridiculously fast-paced and zippy. Developing a mixture of strategic defense and aggression is key, as you dodge and attack every enemy after reading their weak points. The game mixes things up with toxic floors, obstacles, and doors along with the plethora of items, upgrades, and gears. Even though it may seem like a total mess on the surface, every aspect is added slowly as the game progresses, so you adjust smoothly. Moving the player also requires precision, which is matched by the strategy needed for the game. Over time, you may develop a slight idea of what to expect in each level, but the dangerous unknown is always there to surprise you.
Audience: Dead Cells is suitable for a variety of gamers. If you live and play for the action, the ludicrous combat is going to appeal to you like nothing else. Fans of rogue-likes will appreciate the way levels are set up and can experience other genres of indie games within it. If you have played Hollow Knight or the likes, you know what you are going into with the metroidvania aspect of it. Overall, this game is a good mixture of a number of genres and is going to be loved by a wide variety of people. However, this game may not be for players who like a much more laid-back approach when gaming, as it will require a lot of attention to see through.
Platforms: Dead Cells is available on Microsoft Windows, macOS, Linux, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.
Verdict: With different vibes for every region of the world, Dead Cells is aesthetically captivating to say the least. You may feel vulnerable and unguided at the start, but you go with the flow and get the hang of it. After a while, the basics feel like second-nature and you pick up new skills and tactics quickly, which is a very rewarding process and a satisfying feeling. Motion Twin has done incredibly well with Dead Cells, and the game surely deserved the awards for “Best Indie Game” at the 2018 Golden Joystick Awards and the “Best Action Game” at The Game Awards 2018.