When dy­ing is just an in­con­ve­nience Dead Cells

Irish Independent - Weekend Review - - BOOKS -

(PS4/XO/Sw/PC) ★★★★ Age: 12+

Death is an in­con­ve­nience in this rogue-like 2D prison-es­cape plat­former that riffs on Metroid­va­nia tropes and echoes the ver­tig­i­nous chal­lenge of Dark Souls. If you cark it be­fore the end of a level in Dead Cells, it’s back to the be­gin­ning (the very be­gin­ning in your cell) for you, with the land­scape ran­domly re­ar­ranged and all your weapons stripped away.

If that tough rogue-like struc­ture doesn’t sound ap­peal­ing, look away now, be­cause Dead Cells spurns the eas­ily frus­trated. But if you en­joy learn­ing the en­e­mies’ pat­terns and hon­ing your com­bat skills in re­peat af­ter re­peat, Dead Cells has much to of­fer.

The gor­geous pixel art is ob­vi­ously rem­i­nis­cent of Castlevania and the macabre tone (you are, af­ter all, a con­stantly re­an­i­mat­ing corpse) errs on the side of funny as you bat­tle all man­ner of ghouls and zombies. Ob­vi­ously, you’re learn­ing short­cuts in ev­ery run and many times you gain a per­ma­nent perk that eases the pain of sub­se­quent at­tempts.

Dead Cells is a hard sell to any­one with­out a masochis­tic streak but the pun­ish­ment is re­ward­ing for those who do. Over­cooked 2

(XO/PS4/PC/Sw) ★★★★★ Age: 7+

The Over­cooked def­i­ni­tion of co­op­er­a­tion boils down to scream­ing at each other in Gor­don Ram­say-es­que tones as up to four play­ers try to run a high-pres­sured restau­rant kitchen. That is its ge­nius, and Over­cooked 2 wisely re­sists mud­dling the suc­cess­ful recipe that made the orig­i­nal so hi­lar­i­ous.

Now mul­ti­player can be on­line as well as the more ram­bunc­tious sofa co-op mode, some fresh dishes ap­pear on the menu and the kitchen de­signs are even more chaotic.

But the core re­mains a time-sen­si­tive jug­gling act as one player chops, an­other plates, an­other washes up, etc. All good, clean fun — ex­cept for your swear­ing, of course.

★★★ Age: 18+

In­spired by the themes and scenery of Blade Run­ner and with the lead ably voiced by the gravel-throated Doug Cockle (he of Ger­alt, The Witcher fame), State of Mind aims for the think­ing sci-fi fan in this nar­ra­tive ad­ven­ture.

It’s a cu­ri­ous tale of in­ves­tiga­tive jour­nal­ist Richard Nolan, who gets fired from his job in an op­pres­sive fu­ture Berlin only to dis­cover his dop­pel­gänger oper­at­ing in a par­al­lel vir­tual world. De­spite its mus­ings on what it means to be hu­man, it’s not as clever as a Philip K Dick-penned story might be, even al­low­ing for the amus­ing mo­ment when Nolan phones his sur­prised vir­tual self.

The real prob­lem is your lack of agency in the sto­ry­line. This is a game, af­ter all, and it largely flows past you like a book, rather than in­volv­ing the player.

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