One of the very best indie games of the year just landed on PS4 and it’s so challenging that it’ll have you launching your controller across the room within the hour. It’s totally worth it.
There’ something utterly enticing to the simplicity of Dead Cells’ core concept, to the complexity that is buried beneath it all. On the surface, it looks entirely retro-grade, a side-scrolling roguelike with a familiar pixel art visual style, its complex levels crafted from the same cloth as Castlevania: Symphony Of The Night. Though the truth is that there is so much more to this game than its influences alone; Dead Cells is one of the best independent releases of the year, with its expertly honed controls and wildly engaging combat loop ensuring that we haven’t been able to comfortably put this one down for weeks.
The basic idea behind Dead Cells is that must collect cells to keep your decomposing body animated, with death essentially ripping you of all of your progression and dropping you off back at the beginning of the game – so far, so roguelike. But it’s as you weave further and further in through progressively punishing (and ever-shifting, thanks to the procedural-generation) stages that the magic begins to reveal itself. As you gain new items, weapons and skills your desire to stay alive – to push just a little further forward through the adventure – will leave you on the edge of your seat, treating each and every encounter as if it might be your last. Dead Cells is punishing, but it rewards you for your perseverance; it’s the type of game that will demand your attention and, well, you should wholeheartedly sacrifice all of it without hesitation.