Dead Cells and Its Sweet Freaking Combat

I’m glad Dead Cells is finally out of Early Access because I’ve been really looking forward to playing it. I know it’s been playable in Early Access for over a year now but I didn’t realize I already owned a copy and decided to wait for the final build to boot it up. Gotta love Humble Bundle.

Right off the bat, I was surprised at just how fluid moving your character feels. You have a double jump with a nice arch and gravity pulls you down at just the right speed. Changing direction mid air really allows for feathered spacing of attacks and pulling yourself up from a ledge has very little lag. There’s also an air roll you can perform that places you in a diagonal fast fall that you can either land with or cancel into a double jump. I’m definitely the type of player who priorities movement above most other things and Dead Cells is really accommodating.

To say the combat stays varied would be a severe understatement. You start each life off with your sword and get to pick between either a bow or a shield. I started off with the shield since I heard this game was kind of like Dark Souls. If offers a 75% damage absorption if you keep it held up but better than that is the parry. If you pull shield frames before taking damage, 100% is absorbed and the enemy will experience a little stun. Upon starting a new life — this game has rogue like elements — I went with the bow and haven’t looked back since.

The starting weapon you choose only really matters for the first two or so levels. Along your journey you’ll be constantly swapping out weapons for more powerful alternatives and even pick up traps and grenades to fill your third and fourth weapon slot. I played with about 10-15 different weapons in the two hours I put in and didn’t pick up a single one that felt useless. Did I favor some over others? Absolutely, but I don’t see this game as having one play style so overpowered that player creativity will come to a screeching halt.

I’ve only played through the first three worlds but I’ve been really impressed with the enemy designs. Zombies charge up a leaping attack, archers fire arrows, grenadiers lob bombs, ect… At first, rushing down the majority of these mobs is viable as their fairly isolated during each encounter.

As you progress deeper into each level, however, it isn’t a surprise to see them basically guarding one another making it so you either have to time your rolls carefully or bate out enemies away from each other. This is when combat is easy at its finest and knowing how to effectively play with the weapons you’re equipped with is crucial. There are definite combos you can pull off when combining your weapon abilities and thanks to the procedural generating environments, combos setups always feel earned rather than cheesed.

So yeah! Dead Cells is pretty awesome, definitely a game I will continue to play in my down time. I’m pretty positive it’s a single player only experience but its robust mechanics would make for an awesome multiplayer mod — just saying. Imagine Niddhogg but cranked up to extreme levels!

I guess I should note that at first, Dead Cells only real objective is to level up, but as you keep playing, the story unlocks. So far it’s been towards the end of each level that I’ve encountered bosses but there were a few times the ‘elite’ enemies spawn before that. Think Momodora 4 level of difficulty… or maybe Salt and Sanctuary. The whole gist is that you level up your guy as many times to unlock as much as possible before you inevitable die. If that even sounds kind of interesting, I would recommend a scooping of it. Since it’s an indie title, I’m sure it’ll be on ridiculous sale at least a few times before the year is over.

If you want to see more from the dev, Motion Twin, their twitter can be found here @motiontwin. Also if you want to stay up to date with content like this, you can follow me here @sheeshforreal. Thanks!

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