A descent to the underworld. Analysis of Dead Cells

Written by Kamran Haider

A failure and you’re dead! So is this challenging 2D action adventure halfway between the classic Castlevania and the Roguelike. Fight, die and learn then, as we will see in the analysis of Dead Cells, the experience is fun and very addictive.

You die, you scream with fury ! and you keep going. Never give up, never get discouraged. Hard as the battle is; cruel as the deaths suffered at the hands of implacable monsters, brutal in their attacks, you always want more. It is the great virtue of Dead Cells, a challenging 2D action adventure that its creators define as “the illegitimate son of the roguelike and Metroidvania style adventures “, a RogueVania !, which is a name that comes as a glove. Combine the best of both genres and that union adds a hint of essence Souls; the perfect touch to make this a video game of those who leave their mark. You try it and you do not think about anything else; despite its hardness, its extreme level of difficulty, one way or another, you always want to try “once again, it will be the final, the good”. It is not usually like that. This work of the independent studio Motion Twin usually ends badly, very badly; with your blood spilled by the cold rooms of a gloomy castle that in recent days has become my new home. What a nightmare!

I have tried it in a thousand and one different ways; I have tried new weapons and special abilities, different ways of facing the action … and in one way or another always ended the same, dead! With my knight lying on the ground and all his belongings spoiled. Sometimes it’s frustrating, a lot, but it’s hard to give up when you understand that in Dead Cells every failure makes you stronger. Each time you go further, each time you do it better, and after hours of suffering, of exciting combats against a great variety of monsters, you reach ecstasy. You have succeeded! You have survived this cruel butchery. The sensations could not be better. So good is this addictive action videogame that also surprisingly spectacular. The jobpixel art is worthy of all praise: the scenarios, the design of the enemies, the animations, the visual effects like explosions and jets of blood and viscera; everything in this independent work shows a splendid finish, and it surprises even more when you realize that when starting the game, all the mapping is generated in a random way .

A trip of no return

As a general rule, when scenarios are created procedurally, their design is not usually the most inspired, but the case of Dead Cells is different since all of their worlds have been designed “by hand”. There are several models of the tenebrous castle so every time you start a new route, every time you start the assault, a great and dark battle scenario with its own personality is drawn before you. Motion Twin stays with the best of both worlds: on the one hand, the level design is up to the expectations of a videogame of these characteristics, but without great boasts either; and on the other, with the commitment to procedural content, instead of “relying on the classic formula of memorizing” the maps and the position of the enemies, the player’s ability to adapt to the many dangers lurking in the shadows is rewarded. It is not trivial given the ease with which you die and everything restarts

To the enemies it is enough to give a couple of blows to end your life. It is dramatic. Any weapon you carry will be lost beyond repair. The bombs, traps, turrets … and many other relics that with so much sweat and effort you have looted from the castle will disappear without further ado. And the same goes for the level improvements, with those skill points that allow you to enhance your physical attributes in three different categories linked to the type of weapons and gadgets that you can resort to, increasing the damage, reducing the reuse times and boosting health among other advantages. There are no second chances in Dead Cells unless you have a talisman that gives you an extra life, and it’s not that many abound. You can buy them if you are lucky and you find them on your trip, but I do not recommend depending on it. It is better to fight with fierceness; get to know enemies thoroughly and hit them where it hurts most at the right moment, after a blockade in extremiswith the shield or, if you go more bows and throwing weapons, attacking from distance while you move with great agility on the stage. You can jump, take advantage of the stage to cover your steps, roll even on the ground to dodge punches and counterattack. Although not particularly complex, the combat system is pure spectacle; a deadly dance that can hypnotize you thanks to its bloody beauty.combat system

In Dead Cells every failure makes you stronger

The tension that is breathed during these duels is also worth mentioning. You know that failure can take you to the grave and the enemies will search with determination to fulfill that threat. There are those who attack body to body, who can attack you with great speed, and those who strike from a distance; sorcerers, archers, plants that generate traps under your feet, and monsters that drop a trail of bombs behind them when they die. There are also special enemies, the elite in this 2D hell, that will make you pass damn badly. It is not only that they hit with more force, it is that they also invoke undead and can teleport from here to there at great speed. It’s a nightmare! But one that excites, that makes you enjoy every second with Dead Cells. I have missed some more variety in these confrontations and also some extra final villain because these do not abound, although it is true that these battles can be epic to an extreme level.

Challenging as few, there will be who at times of the game feel overwhelmed, who feels the need to leave the game, but Dead Cells is a video game that tempts and invites you to continue enjoying your activities. And you will do it because, in the end, it is the skill that commands; It is your ability and not randomness or fortune that determines whether you live or die. What happens if you do it? Back to start … with nuances. During the game, the enemies will drop some cells, which are the currency to use between phase and phase to unlock permanent improvements. The option to accumulate health potions, retain some gold at death, the ability to impregnate certain weapons fire or start the trip with other special powerful; little by little in Dead Cells we will make our unfortunate protagonist more likely to succeed. What I appreciate most is the tactical component of this work. Yes, the combats are frantic and at times crazy, but depending on the weapons you use, and the mutagens that you add to your body, you will have to face them in one way or another. You always have options; different ways of facing the fight, and I love it. Does not the sword and shield tactic work for you? Try a bow, or take an ax and eliminate your enemies in one fell swoop. The benefits of Dead Cells do not end here.treasure chests

I love the artistic design, which is accompanied by a great soundtrack

The Motion Twins video game hosts many secrets. There are magic portals, secret zones, that challenge you with challenges of extreme hardness in exchange for obtaining succulent rewards; also, outside the treasure chests, others who are cursed, who in exchange for their precious stones and special weapons, punish you in the worst possible way: a blow before finishing with ten enemies and you are dead! The detail that increases the tension and, in the end, based on how you feel, leads you to face the action in one way or another. The highlight is that there are about 50 special items that can be found and then improve with the energy cells. And that’s many hours of play, hours of non-stop fighting. There is also a story background; a dark plot that we will reel step by step, investigating in the depths of the castle. I like it. Although what is told is not original or surprising, there is much intrigue in an adventure that also stands out for its impeccable staging. I am fascinated by the animations of the hero and the enemies; the variety of scenarios, the forcefulness of our attacks, the explosions, how the stage reacts to our actions … and I love the artistic design, which is accompanied by a great soundtrack and texts in Spanish.daily challenges

The good thing about Dead Cells is that it’s so intense, so exciting in its action, that it’s hard not to get hooked. I said it before. Once you start the game you do not want to stop; not at least until you reach the end of the route and show everyone that nobody can with you. There are even daily challenges that will test your skill, comparing your performances with those of other fans. Pure Addiction. And although it is not easy, although the struggle can be extremely hard, it is an experience worth living.

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The failures are punished with a terrible hardness, it can be dramatic !, but Dead Cells is so intense and exciting in its action that it matters little to die, again and again, to fall in combat and lose all the weapons and treasures accumulated so far. This adventure Rogue Vania combines the best of Castlevania classics with the essence of the roguelike, and does so with an enviable elegance, with a great visual and frantic combat system that makes you enjoy a few games get.

  • Intense combat system with a variety of weapons and special objects
  • Great pixel art style. The design of scenarios, monsters, and animations
  • Challenging and addictive You always want to take a game more
  • They are missing more final enemies
  • The level design is fine but not surprising as other titles of style


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Kamran Haider

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