Dead Cells (Nintendo Switch)

Nearly two weeks ago I picked up Dead Cells for the Nintendo Switch: A rogue-lite game with the feeling of a Metroid/Castlevania. I’m normally not the target group for at least the first aspect. With other games I wasn’t able to get beyond just a handful of iterations, they simply didn’t offer enough progress beyond working to improve my score.

Dead Cells is different though: Here you make progress in every iterations by releasing “Cells” from fallen fows. Between stages you can then use those cells to unlock new gear or game modes. Some of these unlocks require multiple hundreds of gems but even partial unlocks are saved across deaths. This allows even short runs of only 2 minutes to contribute to your overall progress.

In the normal stages you usually collect around 25 gems if you kill all enemies but can also get additional 20 by either staying within a certain time limit or killing a certain number of enemies without taking damage. Hidden between all these kills are some small bits and pieces of story about you being a prisoner on an island ruled by iron hand by a ruthless king. That’s pretty much it.

While the story didn’t much to bring me back with every iteration, the fluent battle mechanics and the secrets hidden throughout each level certainly did. Just like with any Metroid game there are also always certain paths that only become available to you after finding a certain ability or item. This and other carrots are simply hanging in the perfect distance for me. I’m currently closing in on 70 iterations and I don’t see myself stopping until I’ve at least reached those areas that I can see right now yet are just outside of my reach!