Dead Cells - Metroidvania Roguelite in Early Access


I have to say this is the first action roguelite that I’m getting addicted to. I mostly liked Nuclear Throne but didn’t play it a lot, I bounced off Wizards of Legend and Enter the Gungeon, I never got Spelunky, I always thought Binding of Isasc was overrated… but I’m liking this one a lot.

That said I’m not good enough. I got one of the best early runs until now, with a legendary weapon, a good complement of utility grenades and high stats (2600 hp when going to fight the first boss). But Conjuntivitis or whatever is his name totally killed me, and it isn’t like I was close to kill him. :(


I’m with you. I only played some of those roguelites but they never held my interest long-term, even the ones I respected as great games, like Spelunky.

I still topped out at 18 hours for Dead Cells, but that’s pretty good for me lately.


Sigh, I just lost two new loadouts, one of them rare, in the ancient sewers.
I think I’m going to ‘give up’ and look into mods making the game easier, because I’m losing my patience here. And not even once I’ve reached the final boss, which for all I can read about it, it’s total bullshit.

It’s one of the things I dislike of the genre, they usually don’t offer the player any choice on how they can play the game. No difficulty options, no nothing. For example I also would like an option to control the duration of a given run, making the levels smaller or bigger (which should be easy to do, in a procedural game like this).
Dungeons of Dredmor was a true roguelike and it had options like that (difficulty, game duration, save between levels or pemadeath), they could learn from it.


…or alternatively, I guess I could do one myself!


I got this build, and for the first time I reached the Hand of the King…

It didn’t matter, he still killed me easily (well, technically one of the minions killed me…)

I guess it doesn’t matter how much sick damage I can do, I still have to learn to avoid damage better.


For Switch players: How are the controls feeling for you? I picked up the Switch version because I liked the game so much on PC but wanted to have the option for portable/couch play. After two short runs (docked), I was so frustrated by the controls that I didn’t want to play anymore. I’m constantly having problems double jumping at full height, where I have to try multiple times to reach a high ledge. I’m also having difficulty executing the ground pound move on a consistent basis. Even my trusty roll seems to have a small delay on it. There’s also the previously mentioned issue with framerate drops, which isn’t terrible but it is noticeable.

I’ve put in more than a handful of hours of this on PC and never had any issues with the controls using a PS4 controller. I played through platformers like Celeste that also required precise movement and never had a problem with Switch controller. So I’m not sure if the problem is the Switch controller, a crappy port, or something specific to me – or some combination of the three.

Anyone else having issues?


It’s a crappy port. They’ve acknowledged that (sort of) but say they don’t know when they’ll get around to optimizing it.


Uh, I have had issues with the ground pound, but as far as I know it is because I wait too long to press the button. I think you have to be a certain distance off the ground. If I don’t wait, it works fine.


While the game does have some frame rate issues on Switch, those issues haven’t once gotten in the way of me enjoying how it plays. I always have instantaneous input response / no input latency, and it’s easy for me to pull off all the moves.

@delirium are you having those issues in handheld mode, or just on the TV? If on the TV maybe your TV is introducing some input latency just on the Switch? Double jumping and ground pound should be really easy to do.


I haven’t tried handheld mode yet, so it’s possible that the problem is related to either my TV or the wireless connection from controller to console. I’ll give it a shot tonight and see if it works better in handheld mode.


Cool. Something similar happened to me a few years ago when I started playing Ori and the Blind Forest on my Xbox One. I’d never previously played a game with such demanding input on that console connecting to that specific TV, and all the platforming in Ori as a result left me extremely frustrated.

Turns out I thought I had Game Mode enabled but I didn’t, and enabling it make it feel night-and-day different.


I actually inherited a new tv from a friend last night and tried it again. The game is much more playable now, so I guess I had some kind of input lag going on there. Still feeling the frame drops, but I can deal with that.


I’ve reached finally the Hand of King fight a few times, but still I haven’t been able to beat him. I think I always fail with my lack of patience, my last attempt I had a good build going, with wolf trap and frost blow to CC people, and good damage too.


The game is so well designed. Look for example at the stat upgrade system. You find scrolls, and it offers you to upgrade one of three stats for that run, brutality/tactics/survival (not that the name matters, other games it could have been str/dex/sta). One of three choices, simple.

But they affect so much:
-They affect what weapons and items you are going to use in the whole run, because each is color coded, associated to one or two of the three stats, and their damage scale up with the stat. So if you go with brutality (red), you are going to want to be focused more on red weapons. This has interesting ramifications because the ‘optimal’ thing would be to have all four slots with red weapons, but sometimes a good red weapon can be a very good complementary synergy with a purple item that you find at random on a shop, so maybe you then would want to be less ‘optimal’, as the synergy overcomes the lower damage?
-You also gain health with each stat. But you don’t win the same amount with each no, no. Red is normal weapons, and it gives you a normal health amount. Purple is deployables and traps, which is overall a safer, easier way to play, and in exchange it gives less health. Green only has associated with shields, some misc items and very few weapons, it isn’t as useful, so in exchange it gives more health than the other two. That’s already an interesting balance.
But there is more. The higher you have a stat, the less health you gain with each new point. So that’s another balanced point, you can choose to be overall tanky with a stat configuration like 9/7/7, or you can go glass cannon and if you are using red weapons, choosing something 14/4/5. That gives you more damage with your red weapons, but your health pool will be smaller. Of course if you have a varied set of weapons of different colors, you won’t need to have a smaller health pool, but then you won’t be maximizing your damage.
-Finally most (but not all) mutations (you pick 3 over the course of the run) are also color coded, and scale up their utility with the appropriate stat. So again, you are going to want get red mutations if are focusing on the red stat, but it isn’t always that easy. Sometimes you may be using green items (like spear + shield) and it would be nice some melee-focused red mutations, or maybe you are doing a glass cannon build with purple traps and bows and would like a grey (uncolored) mutation that doubles ammo.


The crappy part about the upgrade system is that there’s a hidden level scaling. Both enemy HP and damage numbers are scaled up by the number of scrolls you pick up. It’s not totally clear what the numbers are, but it’s something on the order of 8%.

This makes it pretty unclear whether the upgrades are worth it, and also discourages the kinds of runs where you try to make all the timed gates while also getting all the scrolls from the level.


Is that new for 1.0? I was always overpowered when I got all the scrolls.


How is there not more talking about this game? Best time I’ve had with anything in forever. Absolute genius, and I haven’t even sniffed the second boss yet.


I just haven’t had the switch out since the day it came out, so I haven’t played anything. I want to, just been a lot going on.


The “it’s so difficult, it’s frustrating” impressions scared me off.


I picked it up for a work trip this next week. I tinkered with it for a bit and really liked what I saw, but I wanted to save it for the travel time. But Sunday I go to the airport so…

But yeah, I really, really liked my initial play of it. Dead Cells looks to be a very good little title.