Delicious. Finally, some good fucking food… Dead Cells has come to iOS and it’s phenomenal. The side-scrolling “souls-like rogue-lite” action platformer is now available on the App Store, and in the couple of hours I’ve spent on it, it feels really good. It has a similar control scheme to Hyper Light Drifter or Gris, but the digital analogue stick works well when you can really only move your character left to right.
Combat feels really tight and fast, enemies are challenging, and there are some real stakes: you lose all your stuff if you die, including “cells” – a currency you need to get permanent upgrades to your character. However, dying itself, and playing through subsequent levels to get back to where you were narratively, doesn’t ever feel frustrating. You simply get back on the grind and knock your enemies out of your way.
I’m still in the very early stages of my playthrough, but I’ve already gotten to the fifth stage, the Clock Tower, before dying. I don’t know what “beating” this game looks like, but playing it is glorious.
Speaking of glorious, the art direction and writing both are, very much so. Our character can’t speak but they do have an inner monologue, and as you explore and come across secret rooms and passageways, they will comment on what they find. The NPCs they communicate with are funny and (mostly) charming, and they seem to be in on the joke that you, an alchemical experiment gone wrong, can never die.
I’ve had so much fun in Dead Cells that I’ve forgotten to get video of the game. Have a couple pictures instead!