When most games today focus on streamlined experiences that promote steady progress, there’s something almost anachronistic about the roguelike, with its constant restarts and uneven level design. And yet it’s in this environment that the formula has blossomed and spread into countless different genres, precisely because of those factors. With this summer’s Dead Cells the latest of its kind to find success, it’s clear that there are still countless ways to tweak that formula into subtly different, compelling results.
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It's understandable why a lot of indies would find more success on the Switch over other platforms, given the eShop's smaller library of content and ease of use. But you'd think that games with almost universal acclaim like Dead Cells would sell just as well on major consoles, given the user base is many millions more.
Turns out that's not the case.
Dead Cells is a really good video game, and is a perfect fit for the handheld Nintendo Switch. However, the Switch version performs noticeably under 60 frames-per-second, which makes for a less smooth experience than on other gaming systems. Yesterday, the game’s developers said they’re getting to work on improvements.
The Castlevania- and Rogue-inspired Dead Cells is out this week on a bunch of systems. It’s a really good game, and also a tough one. Would you believe me if I told you I had some tips for you?
If you’re one of the many millions who regularly peruse what the Switch eShop or Steam store shelves have to offer, chances are that at some point you’ve thought “Phwoar, that indie game looks incredible!” The huge range of smaller titles being released every week include plenty that showcase a team or individual’s pure artistic vision – free of the compromise and blandness that can render triple-A art styles so utterly boring. A subset even choose to tantalise our nostalgia buds not by updating games we’ve already played – that’s for the big boys to handle – but by harnessing the power of the pixel.
French studio Motion Twin, developer of the Castlevania-inspired roguelike Dead Cells, is trying something different: Workers own and manage the company. There is no boss.
My favourite moment in Dead Cells so far came right after I won my first boss fight. I gained the ability to make climbable vines sprout from certain surfaces, allowing me to access areas I hadn't previously been able to. Classic Metroidvania stuff, right? The twist: Dead Cells' levels, unlike those of a Castlevania or Metroid, aren't permanent. But my new ability was.