July 3, 2022

Dead Cells – Xbox One Review

Dead Cells is a rogue-lite metrovania style game from French developers Motion Twin. With its stunning pixel art design and souls-lite action it encapsulates the best of games like Enter The Gungeon, Dark Souls, Super Metroid and Castlevania.

Dead Cells is a vibrant concoction of styles and nostalgia resulting in a game far more complex and enthralling than it first seems.

In Dead Cells you start with a merely basic weapons and you must make your way through the many procedurally generated areas killing enemies to collect items, weapons, power ups and most importantly, cells.

You use cells scavenged from vanquished enemies to buy permanent perks to aid you on your many, many runs through the game. You can unlock the ability to start with higher stat weapons and increase the amount of times you can use your healing flask.

Each team you die you lose all of the weapons and power ups you collect so you will rely on these perks bought from the mysterious collector to get you further each time as all drops are random.

As you wander through the cells, sewers and crypts making up your levels you pick up power ups increasing your damage dealt and hit points, paired with the dozens of weapons you can pick up you need these to get you through each boss and challenge 

There are various routes to make your way through the world with a good variety of enemies, elite enemies, mini bosses and big bosses.

Every boss you kill unlocks a new ability giving you access to more routes and foes and eventually leading you to the games conclusion.

Like the souls games you will need to learn your enemies patterns and moves and only then will you defeat them. Be prepared to die a lot as you learn by dying and die through learning, once you understand that you will unlock the games true charm.

Every enemy type and boss you will encounter are wonderfully varied and range from exploding bats to a seriously powerful ninja star flinging swordsman. Sound design is pure Castlevania bringing atmosphere and tension to every fight.

The only complaint I do have when it comes to Dead Cells is occasionally I did experience a small incidents when the game would freeze for a second and then almost have to spend another catching up with itself. Other than the one issue I have experienced the game is perfectly polished and so addictive. Every run feels different and new.

Dead Cells even tries to encourage speed running through areas as there are doors that lock after certain durations starting from the beginning of your run. These doors conceal power ups and weapons vital to surviving in this world.

Numerous times I have reached a boss with no HP and rubbish equipment so headed back looking for cells and found my way to the collector to spend them on a perk knowing I would die but have a better chance on my next run with that new advantage.

I have spent hours just farming weapon blueprints and cells to unlock them with no intention of surviving a boss just to give myself a fair advantage further down the road. When you finally beat that boss only to die ten minutes later and end up back at square one crushes you but pushes you to try and try again. The rinse and repeat nature of the game never gets boring it just gets more engaging hour after hour.

Not since Dark Souls 3 have I spent entire work days talking and thinking about a game, its just that damn good. Dead Cells triggers that part of your brain where you cant wait to play it every day just to see what it throws at you next and to see if you can get that little bit closer to the next boss. It’s one of those games where “just one more try” becomes four hours later and ten finger nails gone.

Dead Cells is the an action packed game which encourages you to keep trying as it drip feeds you little drops of hope. It manages to keep you hooked and coming back even past its end game content where it adds another new element that I will not spoil for you.

With the price point of around £20 depending on platform, Dead Cells is a bargain considering the amount of play time you will get and thoroughly enjoy. Sublime in its execution and fantastic in its originality I honestly consider this a game of the year contender. Trust me, try it and you will not be disappointed.

Do you agree with our review? Let us know in the comments and as always for all things gaming stay tuned to ABG.


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  • 9.5/10
    Overall - 9.5/10
9.5/10

Summary

Motion Twin have managed to craft a highly addictive and engaging love song to both the old school and new school metrovania games while carving its own unique identity. Occasional momentary freezing sometimes leading to a untimely death was the only drawback I experienced and I cannot wait to get stuck into its end game content.

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