Dead Cells is a rogue-lite metroidvania. The player takes control of a cluster of cells that is able to posess the dead, allowing for multiple failed runs, and have this be canon in the game story.
Dead Cells has extremely solid combat. There are two weapons, 2 skills, and a range of movement skills that the player has access to. The player can dodge or jump to attempt to avoid enemy attacks, and if they have a shield, can block incoming attacks. This gives a great sense of control, and prepares the player to deal with the threats that the enemies provide.
Enemies themselves are varied, with many types home to each biome, and each having their own style of attacks. Generally these attacks are telegraphed, allowing a player to avoid them easily once learning how, but when you put 3 or more enemies in a room, it gets difficult to dodge and weave around these attacks whilst attacking yourself.
The game has a lot of intricacy to combat with all of these moves, there are also bonuses, as when an enemy is damaged whilst winding up for an attack, if enough damage is done, the enemy is stunned, leaving a good opening to deal even more damage. If multiple enemies are defeated in quick succession, the player gains a speed boost which allows them to run through the level faster. In addition to these, there are also mutators. These alter the benefits that the player receives. Once can be chosen after a level is beaten, and can have up to three active at any time. These bonuses vary, and allow the player to customise how they want to play.
As the game is a roguelike, you will be playing the same areas multiple times, but the areas are randomly generated each time, giving a good amount of variety in the play. Additionally, as the player unlocks new areas, they will also unlock more movement abilities, which in addition to allowing the player to get to new areas in order to collect more during runs, and also gain access to new exits, which unlock new areas, providing new challenges, and add more variety to the game.
Dead Cells has an enourmous range of items to unlock, in the form of weapons, skills and mutators. These items can be unlocked by collecting blueprints. Some blueprints are dropped after defeating enemies, some by accessing secret areas within levels, and others for beating bosses or even beating the game. This encourages the player to explore all the different areas to try and find more to offer.
Every few floors, the player will encounter a boss. Unlike in other roguelikes, these bosses are not random, and you will always encounter the same bosses, allowing you to learn their movesets quickly, but this does make the game a little more stale after multiple runs.
Upon beating the game, an additional difficulty is unlocked, and if you are able to beat that difficulty, you will unlock yet another difficulty. These new difficulties do more than just making the enemies hit harder, with stronger enemies appearing earlier in the runs, and the potion replenishment system being broken on certain floors meaning that you need to really play carefully. It also allows the player to upgrade their weapons further during the run to give them somewhat of a fighting chance.
Overall, there is a lot to love in this game, the solid combat and huge list of unlockables can keep you going back for a long time, providing that you don’t get tired of seeing the same areas and fighting the same enemies before then.