Dead Cells just came out today on Early Access for Steam, and while we normally don't review a lot of titles before they come out, we decided to stroll through this one because it gave us great memories of Metroid and Castlevania. Plus, Motion Twin did a cool job making the game so why not explore it?
Dead Cells doesn't offer a lot in story because it's still sitting in beta, but what little you do gather from it is intriguing. You start as a green pile of ooze that gets scattered onto the floor. You crawl over to a dead body with no head and take it over, with a knowledge of what to do and how to fight. Almost as if you've been here before. You get a little dialog from a mysterious guard figure before you're allowed to push forward by killing enemies and exploring what looks like a run-down ruins filled with enemies and treasure.
You have a few basic functions to your character. You move using WASD, your two weapons are the left and right mouse buttons, and the space bar is your jump. You'll make your way around taking out creatures that are just as mysterious as you are. There's no pattern as to how many show up in what area, you're basically just left to see what's around and figure out the best play. However, once you die, you lose everything and start off in a brand new area that looks somewhat like it did before, but changed.
There are three kinds of enemies you run into in the game, ranging from standard to elite. Your standard do what they do (like a scorpion who can stab you), the hard bump it up a notch (a scorpion who can move quickly) and the elite and just hard to kill (like a scorpion that can teleport). The game is primarily based on patterns when it comes to enemy attacks and once you nail those down you'll basically become invincible. However, the game has two bosses and they are no laughing matter—they're Mega Man Dr. Wiley maze level of difficulty and they don't care how hard you tried to get here.
You're not completely screwed in Dead Cells, as there are a variety of weapons in each level to air in your attack on these foes, as well as health upgrades to make you last a little longer in the fight. You won't be able to just hack-n-slash your way through everyone, you'll need to employ some genuine tactics to lure enemies into a false sense of comfort to attack you and then blast away once they miss. The big problem is that no matter how elite you are, you're going to die. A lot. There are times where the enemies just become to much and you will not get away from it. But it's something to learn from as you make your way back through a different labyrinth of hell.
Overall, Dead Cells is pretty cool and deserves your full attention. Whenever we get the story to this, it will be interesting to see how the developers incorporate the changing levels into what's happening to your character. Surprisingly, I didn't become frustrated or angry at the game when I died because everything was my fault for not recognizing the situation in front of me, like I wasn't just forced to take damage or die randomly. That's good for replay value and the challenge of wanting to conquer this beast. I recommend checking it out if you're looking for an Early Access game to just have fun with.