How to make many different game philosophies live together? In fact at Motion Twins, a cooperative of developers with already active dozens of productions, most of which for mobile or browser-based systems, the dish seems to have managed to perfection, so much to leave incredulous. It starts without too much preamble with a bunch of cells that gives life to a dead body. We do not know why we find ourselves prisoners in a wet dungeon, we do not know why there is a guy who gives us advice on how to start playing and, more generally, we do not really know who we are.
The only certainties are the rusty sword that we hold and the possibility of immediately taking a secondary weapon, choosing between a wooden arch and a shield. Before going into the dungeon we briefly experiment with the simple control system, with a key for the primary weapon, one for the secondary weapon and one for the jump. In addition to these there is a key dedicated to interactions, which is used to open doors, buy items, activate some secrets and so on.
When there are weapons related to abilities, bombs or temporary power-ups, two more keys are added to the group (we strongly recommend playing with a controller, even if you can actually play with the keyboard).
The graphics are completed in pixel art and in some cases it amazes for detail, especially in the face of fluid and well-executed animations.
On more than one occasion he reminded us of Slain’s, not so much for single objects, but for the overall style with a strongly Gothic flavor. But the time has come to get into action and to understand what trouble we have been chasing and how to get out of it.
We tried the roguevania Dead Cells: a big surprise for all fans of the genre
Having taken the first steps in the dark corridors of the dungeon that hosts us, we immediately come across some enemies: an archer, a mutant violates, fires bombs and a strange green creature that jumps on us and takes away a large amount of energy. After having eliminated them we collect the loot that they drop: gems, expendable in the shops scattered around the game world, and a sphere of the soul.
To figure out what to do with the latter, and its cronies who are killing monsters, we have to get to the end of the level, where in a zone of intermezzo a strange character allows us to spend the collected balls to unlock new equipment or enhance what we already have.It is a fundamental mechanic of Dead Cells, which characterizes the entire gameplay. At the beginning there are in fact few and scarce means, with weak and extra limited weapons that make it difficult to advance in the levels.
The release of new weapons and tools, however, allows to “expand”, that is to overcome with more agility otherwise complicated situations. Yes, because first level aside, Dead Cells is damn hard, even bastard in some situations. However, we rewind the tape and return to our hero, which we had left in the initial dungeon. By exploring the level a little we discover that in addition to jumping we can also climb up the ledges.
The roguelike nature of the map is evident from some small details, like blind alleys placed in strange way or teleporters, which are used to retrace their steps in case you have a wrong road or you want to explore the entire level before continuing, placed too close to each other to be designed by human hand .
We also discover elements from metroidvania, that is, piles of ground cells and electric sarcophagi, which will become usable when we have unlocked skills in later levels.