Author Topic: Dead Cells - RogueVania  (Read 186 times)

Offline TheVampire100

  • Hero Member Mark III
  • *****
  • Posts: 1,187
  • Ordinary Vampire
Dead Cells - RogueVania
« on: May 16, 2017, 04:48:31 PM »
Dead Cells is, what the developers describe as "RogueVania" and the name already implies it, its a mix between Metroidvania and Rogue-like.
You might scratch your head and think "aren't these two totally different genres?" and you are correct. Metroidvanias are about a big, exploarable world divided into sections and bosses, once you reach certain points or beat a boss, you get a new ability or a new item that lets you explore new sections of the game world while also enabling to look up some of the sidepaths that were locked before, so you can find more bonus items. This helps you to progress your character further util you are ready for the final boss. Part of the fun of Metroidvanias is to find all the secrets in the game and collect all the items.
Rogue-lieks ont he other hand go into the opposite direction. You have a randomly generated world that may also contain secrets but the thing about rogue-likes is, everything is randomly placed and because of this, all your tools are aviable to the beginning. There is the same feeling of progression in the way that you level up your character and find new items that improve you even more. Newer instances of this genre filtered out some gameplay elements which is why they are called "rogue-lites" instead but still keep the core mechanics.While in Rogue-likes you can also collect all the secrets and stuff, the game has little to no backtracking because you either find the secret right at the start or probably never and progress simply further. A lot rogue-likes do also not allow to get back to previous sections of the game world, a big difference to Metroidvanias.

Dead Cells wants to fuse these genres and they call Rogue Legacy as inspiritaion 8which did something similiar). In my opinion the Metroidvania part of the game is still lacking but more to that later.

Dead Cells introduces you to a headless Protagonist who awakens in a prison cell  and wants to escape. That's all that is to the lore at the moment because the game is still unfinished (Early Access). You always start out with a rusty blade as starting weapon and can decide if you want a bow or a shield as side weapon. Combat is very fluid and battle combos work seamless together. I think the combat system is currently the strongest/best aspect of the game. The game is divided in different sections, you start at the prison and can enter sewers, a promenade and the ramparts, you cannot, unlike typical Metroidvanias, backtrack to previous segments. The sections appear always at the same locations, first prison, fromt here either sewers or promenade, and so on. It's a branching system where you decide in which section you want to go. Enemies are always tied to their specific section except some standard enemies that appear across the entire game world.
Levels are pseudo-randomly generated, they are made of different pre-designed chunks that are randomly connected to guarantee an interesting level on each run.  Rewards are randomly placed amond these chunks (or maybe they are fixed to specific chunks, I don't know the exact algorithm of course). You can find either stat upgrades (liek typical in an RPG) that increase your weapons damage, your skill damage or your hp. Some upgrades let you decide what to raise. You can also find all unlocked weapons or skills so far and of course gold. Additionally you can find so-called blueprints. If you bring these to the blacksmith who waits at the end of each level, he unlocks a new item in his shop. The blacksmith acts as meta progression tool in this game, similiar to the castle in Rogue Legacy. You can pay him with cells (which are dropped by killed enemies) and unlock new items (if you brought him the corresponding blueprint) or improve already unlocked items. He can also give you the ability to start with different (random) weapons at the start instead of the poor stuff you have first. You also unlock a heatlh potion, that allows you to rplenish your health anywhere in a level, similiar to Dark Souls. The flask can be refilled at the blacksmith and only there but you can improve it to hold more charges.
Bosses are, like enemies, fixed to different sections. These count into the metaprogression of the game. Defeated bosses unlock permanent abilities to reach new places in levels, for example you can create vines at specific places to reach higher ledges and get to new routes. This way you can collect more stuff or enter in new sections of the game.
However, the current abilities you can unlock are a little lackluster and once you defeated the boss, he does not return. Because of this, the game still feels more like typical Roguelite and less like true Metroidvania. The Metaprogression just increases the pool of items you can find, something that other rogue-likes/rogue-lites already do en-masse. When I heard of the game, i kinda excepted more but this will hopefully get better, when the game is shaped out more. I think once more routes and sections are added, it gets a lot more meaningful what permanent skills you unlock and hopefully these skills can be used in battle as well and not only at specific fixed locations.
The game is however really good for a sidescroller rogue-like alone and this is already a good enough reason to buy it if you are interested in this kind of thing. Just don't buy it in high hopes, that there are good metroidvania aspects because there aren't at the moment. If anythign it draws more of Dark Souls instead.