Dead Cells’ final stretch starts as Update 6 leaves beta

Dead Cells

Last week, we reported that metroidvania-ish platform roguelike Dead Cells had pushed its sixth major update – The Hand Of The King – to public beta testing. Having identified and smoothed out a few initial issues, developers Motion Twin have officially released the new content for all, along with their plans for the future of the game.

I said that the new Castle zone and the accompanying Hand of the King boss had a distinct endgame feel to them, and it would seem that assertion was on the money. While there may be some minor patches between here and there, Update 7, whenever it comes, will mark the end of core development, and Dead Cells’ exit from Early Access.

In our previous coverage of Update 6, we covered the long and short of the new update, but Motion Twin figure that sometimes it’s better to explain things in video form, rather than force people to slog through the extensive patch notes.

The development roadmap as mentioned in the video can be found here. The biggest, most important detail is mention that not long after the V1.0 launch of the game, a content-heavy chunk of free DLC is on its way. Unless a True Final Boss finds its way into the next handful of smaller planned updates, it seems that the Hand Of The King is going to be capping off the game until that DLC lands, although he looks big and tough enough to make the game feel pretty complete as-is.

More importantly, the V1.0 release of the game will include The Lore, capitals and all. Up until this point, there have only been the faintest bits of Dark Souls-ish story hooks attached to the game, so it’ll be interesting to see how much more overtly they tell the story of The Prisoner and his gloopy, removable head in the framework of a larger, higher-stakes fantasy story. They hope to have all this and the free DLC squared away by the end of the year. From there? Who knows – I doubt anyone at Motion Twin has even dreamt that far.

Dead Cells is available on Steam or via Humble for £17/$20, minus a generous 33% discount on Steam as part of the Midweek Madness deals.

12 Comments

  1. aliksy says:

    Does it still have no mercy invulnerability when you get hit, so it’s common to go from 100% to dead via one mistake and a short juggling experience?

  2. Stepout says:

    Just started playing this recently. I may be forgetting something but I think it’s the most fun 2D action combat I’ve experienced in a game. Twin Daggers FTW.

    • Apologised says:

      You seem to have accidentally said Twin instead of Assassin there.

      I find it’s all about your primary/secondary weapon combo’s. Ice is always a good companion, Shield is a good option for those with Dark Souls trained parrying muscle memories, whilst Bows can provide a large amount of burst damage from afar.
      Then there’s the question of what grenades and hunters tools are best. The first ACTUAL boss HATES bear traps, Ice and Assassin Daggers like you wouldn’t believe.

      I’m currently dividing my time between Into the Breach, Stellaris 2.0 and MHW right now, but this update gives me something to do when I get tired of one of the above.

      • Artiforg says:

        The first ACTUAL boss HATES bear traps, Ice and Assassin Daggers like you wouldn’t believe.

        The above is what annoys me about the game. The whole point of the game is the random items you get in the game with no way to control what you get. Even re-rolling the shops won’t guarantee the right items.

        So there should be multiple ways of defeating a boss with the skills you’ve been granted.

        The Incomplete One is easy if you have bear traps as you can just lock him in place. If you get a roof turret you’re screwed as it’s entirely useless on the Black Bridge.

        But should you dare to suggest that the Incomplete One should get a nerf (the damage shield activates far too frequently and the fire shield is undodgeable) then you’ll get shot down by the “git-gud” crowd.

        The first couple of levels are great, and they go past really quickly as you jump and kill your way through them, then you’re on the Black Bridge and the whole game grinds to a halt until you either die or are lucky enough to beat him. Get onto the next level and it’s all full speed ahead again!?

        • gunny1993 says:

          Certain combinations make him easier for sure, but its certainly not impossible to defeat him with a bad combo. I’ve just started playing the game but I can beat him maybe 3/5 times as long as I don’t have a particularly low damage combo.

          As always, dodge is the way to win.

        • xaphoo says:

          The Incomplete One is going to make me lose interest in the game. I haven’t beaten him yet – either I’m unlucky with the items or just bad at bosses. The game’s later levels will most likely remain mysteries to me.

  3. Banks says:

    The combat seems super fun but they lost me at the “procedural rogue-lite” part. I prefer hand made levels and not having to endlessly repeat the boring parts to get to the interesting stuff. It also punishes a lot of the experimentation and playfulness of games, as it forces you to play safe.

    I know that a lot of people love that, but It’s just not for me, I don’t have nor the time nor the patience anymore. I would buy this in an instant if it offered a campaign with checkpoints. Maybe like XCOM, where you have the option of manual saves and iron man mode.

    Nuclear Throne and Necrodancer are other two that come to mind. Wonderful games, but I just could’t get into the rules they offered.

    • Stepout says:

      I know what you mean. While I really enjoy this game and enjoyed Rogue Legacy, I’m actually not a huge fan of the roguelike progression systems they’re designed around. I do however really like procedural generation in games because the replayability it provides. There’s a similar game called Chasm that I think will probably get released this year that is procedurally generated but there’s also checkpoints so it’s kind of like Symphony of the Night meets Diablo. That type of progression system appeals to me more I think.

    • Chromatose says:

      Yeah, I tried Dead Cells a while back, and while the combat mechanics were super fun and slick and responsive, the procedural generation of levels plus permadeath really detracted from the experience for me. Rather than feeling like a new adventure each time, each retry felt like a thankless slog through levels that offered little in meaningful variation. I’d much rather they had just stuck closer to a traditional Metroidvania template and concentrated on strong level design instead of the infinite variations on rather flat, uninspired layouts that the game currently uses.

    • gunny1993 says:

      Normally I would be 100% on side with you, but in this case I find it’s not as much of an issue. Mostly because the permanent upgrades give a real sense of progress and the game most certainly incentives different play styles.

      For instance there’s 3 levels before the first boss, but at least 2 different routes that offer different challenges. Also getting better at the game is heavily rewarded with time locked doors that are hard to reach as you start but you can start to hit consistently with practice.

      As you progress there’s permanent unlock-able skills that open up more of the earlier levels and give you a boost to get you through them faster.

      I only have about 20 hours so far, but that’s not bad for a 10 pound game in a genre I traditionally dislike.

  4. Banks says:

    I also do enjoy procedural generation in certain games that rely on you not knowing what you are about to encounter. Spelunky wouln’t work with static level design.

    However, tailor-made levels and situations will always take the most of the game systems and offer the most interesting challenges that could be accomplish with them. And they do have a ton more personality.

    *this was a response to Stepout

  5. Gregor_de_Lallo says:

    Looks like I am gonna get into this one again, with all the new stuff!