Dead Cells has gone full Super Smash Bros. with its new ‘Everyone Is Here’ update, which adds new weapons and character skins from half a dozen phenomenal indie games including Blasphemous, Skul: The Hero Slayer, Hyper Light Drifter, Guacomelee, Curse of the Dead Gods and Hollow Knight.
Dead Cells, an indie action roguelike developed by Motion Twin, has, in the years since its release, become one of the independent scene’s biggest successes. Its combination of light character building, phenomenal combat feel, and gorgeous pixel art, has made the game a real standout of the recent indie roguelike boom. Over the last few years, its continued support and popularity has made it one of the scene’s most recognisable, and frequently referenced, games.
The update’s skins are surprisingly pretty. The Hyper Light Drifter skin in particular is absolutely gorgeous, couple this with the inventive new weapons and I’m excited to dive back into Dead Cells for the first time in a while. There is, however, one exception, Skul: The Hero Slayer’s skin is deeply unsettling to me as someone who put too much time into that game while deeply ill. Skul is supposed to be a cute little guy! Long Skul deeply troubles me. His long arms, bony hands, and man-like stature, discomfort me to my core.
Skins aside, every character comes with a new weapon — my favourite of which is the Drifter’s hard lights sword and gun. Much like the original game, firing the gun takes ammo and marks enemies — meleeing those same enemies will return your ammo to you. The weapon’s combo structure is a great fit for Dead Cells, and a brilliant translation of Hyper Light Drifter’s distinctive combat rhythms.
Many of these games have crossed over independently, Dead Cell’s Prisoner is a playable character in Skul: The Hero Slayer for example. But this is the first time each of these indie giants have shared a screen together. Given the regimented and highly orchestrated crossovers of gaming and media’s biggest franchises, the easy and naturalistic content sharing of the independent scene is really exciting.
Fuck shared universes, just smash characters together like action figures and support your friend’s work by putting it in your game.