Dead Cells is a side-scrolling action platformer with metroidvania and roguelike elements.
Pro Satisfying combat with a good amount of depth to it
Dead Cells encourages fast-paced gameplay and requires quick reactions. The hits are impactful, the controls are super-responsive, and it's overall very fluid. The game has a good variety of weapons, skills and enemies that all change how the game plays out. Some weapons work best if the enemy is bleeding, some skills hurl enemies at you, some enemies are immune to attacks from the front. Which items you find and decide to keep will change what approach to combat you need to take.
Pro Beautiful pixel art graphics
The pixel models for your character and the enemies manage to feel modern in the way the animations flow swiftly from movement to movement. The colorful art design is a nice throwback to the retro games that inspired Dead Cells. It goes hand-in-hand with the side-scrolling gameplay, with a cool look to the monster and gadget designs. The reds, blues, and greens especially pop a lot to give the game a distinct look to help it stand apart from others in the same genre.
Pro Brilliant game design that presents a good challenge
All the little details come together to make Dead Cells incredibly rewarding to play. Making one mistake can mean death, which makes the game challenging but also fun as you learn how to take on certain enemies with different sets of weapons and skills. Also, every level is procedurally-generated, so even when you die and have to restart it feels unique and different every time. This keeps the game from ever getting old, even after you finish the game on the highest difficulty level.
Pro The developers put a lot of love and care into the game
Throughout its time in Early Access, the creators of Dead Cells consistently updated the game with new features, adding entirely new areas and weapons each time. The game could have honestly been released a while ago and fared decently, but they kept making it better. Even more importantly though, the developers took player feedback into account many times. The devs love the game and the community and it shows through their work.
Con Shallow story
The story feels totally inconsequential. There isn't much going on with the plot, and what little is there is pretty forgettable. You feel motivated by the progression of the game rather than any emotional connection to the story. If you're looking for something with a stronger narrative to go with the good gameplay, this isn't it.
Con Frustrating for players new to roguelikes
If you're new to the genre, this may not be the best place to start. The game gives you one life (except with a certain perk), so if you die, then your whole run is over. This would be fine if it wasn't so easy to lose all your health in an instant and fall back to level one. This makes it frustrating if you spend a lot of time on a run only for it to all go down the drain from a small mistake. The punishing difficulty can be pretty overwhelming for newcomers unless you're really looking to push yourself.