Motion Twin’s Dead Cells isn’t what you would call one of those out-and-out bastard hard games. While it’s true that you can be comprehensively battered to death within seconds, there are many different ways to play the game, meaning you can climb even the biggest of hills.
With it out today for PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch, here are some Dead Cells tips to help you survive the island. Or at least long enough so you make an inch of extra progress. As the game is also a little reliant on the roll of the dice, be warned that sometimes your death is completely unavoidable. In fact, sometimes you need to die to make progress. That will all make sense when you play one of 2018’s best games.
1. Don’t depend on one playstyle
While the sword and shield combo in Dead Cells is certainly dependable, it shouldn’t be the be all and end all. Don’t become too married to your shield; a good roll can be even more effective at times. Depending on the situation, don’t be afraid to drop your shield and roll with a melee weapon as well as something like a bow.
2. Master the parry
This thing will save your life (and also make you look badass). When an enemy is just about to attack you, a yellow exclamation mark will appear above their head. This indicates that you will be able to parry them by quickly bringing up your shield, leaving them dazed and open for some huge hits.
3. Explore everywhere
In the first couple of hours of Dead Cells, the urge may be to run through areas to get to somewhere new. Don’t do that. You’ll be underpowered for the next area, as well as potentially having missed out on some very juicy items. You have to be patient with Dead Cells, so be sure to hit all of the unusual looking walls you see.
4. Kill everything
A similar tip to the previous one, leave no man/beast alive in Dead Cells and you will be handsomely rewarded. Downed foes will sometimes have cells, which can be used to upgrade the Prisoner’s various skills and basics. As these usually take a long time to grind towards, you want to be hoovering up every cell you can.
5. Reforge your modifiers
A fair ways into the game, you will be given the opportunity to reforge your modifiers during the downtime between areas. Take advantage of this and use your coins to keep changing the modifiers until you find one that’s going to turn the tide of battle. Critical hit bonuses are good, but for the real fun stuff, look at making your sword also unleash a swarm of pink killer worms.
6. Upgrade your health early
Technically, you can’t upgrade your base HP in Dead Cells. Rather, you can increase the amount of swigs you can take from your health flask, which basically equates to an extra life each time. These upgrades usually cost the sun and the stars to unlock and can even take hours to do so depending on cell drops, but it’s totally worth the grind — a seemingly impossible area isn’t quite so if you have one extra chance.
7. Turrets and more turrets
Motion Twin are sure to re-balance it at one point or another, but turrets are currently the best pickups you can have in Dead Cells by quite the distance. A combination of a Barnacle and a Crossbow-o-matic is lethal and can significantly damage as well as suppress waves of enemies. Absolutely killer for the game’s latter breathless stages.
8. Balance your mutations
Much like modifiers, you will also unlock mutations after a short time in Dead Cells, which are basically powerups. With them being capped at three at one time, make sure you use them properly. For instance, if you know you’re going against a boss in the next room, you’ll want to swap out your DPS for multiple enemies bonus and perhaps switch to something that allows you to use items more regularly.
9. Prepare to die
Dead Cells is all about crawling your way to the finish line, one death at a time. Don’t become jaded by the early grind and you will look back on your first couple of hours and laugh at the hapless little worm(s) that you were. Even if you die while late in the game and have to start all over, take it as a lesson to learn from and to try something different next time. Dead Cells is constantly teaching you, so you better start listening.
“I’ve had to continuously go back in my review and add in mechanics I’ve missed, the little details that make Dead Cells such an essential experience — and I’m sure I’ve still not covered everything. There’s still a little ways to go in 2018, but Dead Cells is a dead cert to find its way onto many GOTY lists, mine included.”
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