There are a lot of indie titles out there these days that refer to themselves predictably as Metroidvania, procedurally-generated roguelikes. Despite falling into that category Dead Cells, by developers Motion Twins, has a number of features to make it seem fresh and stand out in the crowd. In it the player takes control of an adventuring shade, trying to possess a host strong enough to kill its creator.
Dead Cells’ gameplay is much like most roguelikes - you manoeuvre your way through levels defeating enemies with a variety of weapons and items, slowly building your strength as you ascend randomly generated levels and layouts. What differentiators Dead Cells has come in the form of its smooth animations and well-crafted level design that offers a fluidity that you wouldn’t expect in a game that is comprised of pixels. Each level, Motion Twins tells me at gamescom, has been meticulously hand-crafted so as to look unique on every run through.
Combat is a chunky affair, with your player character able to handle a wide variety of tools for the job. From your bog-standard sword and shield combo to a hefty-looking morningstar and flail, you can lay into the hordes of enemies with abandon. Alternatively, if you’re a sneaky type, the game allows you to utilise items and abilities to jet past knots of tough foes and get to the exit.
Dead Cells is going to appear on Steam Greenlight in December 2016 or January 2017, according to Motion Twins, and is certainly one to keep an eye out for if you’re a fan of pixel-based indies.