Author: Nathan Doverspike
Dead Cells is a game that successfully mashes numerous characteristics together, and it has the potential to reach players who normally might not give it a shot because of that. It’s a game with beautiful 3D turned 2D graphics boasting roguelite elements, responsive action, satisfyingly quick platforming, and rewarding exploration all tied into an affordable yet deep game. This is one I can see myself picking up years from now and still admiring the art style and game-play as much as the day I bought it. Because of how great it is, and the fact that the game can be very challenging at times, I’m here to provide you with some tips to get started.
Play To Your Strengths
As you can see from the image above, I had a wide variety of weapons equipped that particular run (I made it to the final area on that run, only to be obliterated within the first couple rooms). What saved my bacon the most is the mutation that lets you revive once in the even that you die. This is so handy during boss fights or areas where enemies get the jump on you. Also, being able to regain health from defeating enemies (you’ll be doing that quite a lot once you get to a certain point in a run) is invaluable in staying alive. However, there are plenty of other mutations and weapons other than the ones I have pictured that may work better for your play style. There are mutations that allow you to do a massive amount more damage if you are near a trap, and one that reduces the time to deploy your traps. Those combined also can be a lethal combination. Finding the right weapons, mutations, and traps is crucial in progressing in Dead Cells.
Exploration Is Your Friend
Some of the most satisfying moments I’ve had in Dead Cells involve pushing deeper and deeper into areas, knowing that in an instant my run could be over with one mistake, and bathe in rewards from a newly discovered chest that spits out a legendary weapon. This is just another aspect that this game nails: exploration is rewarding and can be crucial to extending runs. Chests provide rewards that can help you unlock new upgrades, give you a weapon that you desperately need, or even curse you until you complete a specified task to list that curse. You can also find more power scrolls the deeper you delve into areas, so always being on the lookout and checking the map will also help keep you alive longer.
Persistence Will Pay Off
There were certainly times while playing Dead Cells that it feels like I’m getting nowhere. Then I complete an area and am able to dump the cells I earned into unlocking a new mutation, or the ability to get a random starting weapon on subsequent runs, and I remember that this game demands persistence . It even gives you not-so-subtle hints that you will be doing the same run over and over for eternity. Once I accepted that I will be seeing the prison and toxic sewers quite a bit, I focused more on learning how each weapon functions, and how the levels are semi-randomly built on each run. Persistence has been paying large dividends, and I am reaching the final and next to last area quite often, meaning my runs are lasting one to two hours instead of fifteen or twenty minutes. If you reach the point where you feel you aren’t making much progress, keep pushing forward and you’ll realize like I did that eventually you’ll beat down that virtual brick wall with enough punches.
When In Doubt, Switch Your Route
There isn’t a singular path to the end of Dead Cells. The branching paths mean that you could potentially beat the game in an earlier run without ever seeing whole areas of the game. That also means that you have the freedom to take a path and avoid certain areas that may prove more difficult than others. For example, earlier on in my time with Dead Cells I was having difficulty beating the Black Bridge. So, with the new ability to use teleportation coffins, I chose to go through the Ossuary. Granted, that run ended quite abruptly and I eventually went back to the Black Bridge and beat it on the following run, but it just serves as a good example of how you can change the way you reach the final area to suite your personal gaming strengths.
Mutations Are A Game-Changer
Finding the perfect combination of mutations for your runs can do wonders for helping you push farther and farther each run. Personally, I found getting the mutation that allows you to revive once after dying a great pickup as your first mutation, followed by necromancy (you gain health each time you kill an enemy), and finish it with the 30% health boost. This all allows me to tank bosses, while letting me come back from death once if I make a huge mistake or get mauled by an elite enemy encounter. The other abilities I recommend trying are the ones that give you extra damage for being near a trap and the one that reduces your trap cool-down.
Bonus Tip: Freeze Weapons Are Killer
Just a quick tip for making the most out of your runs: have a weapon that freezes enemies. This can be a bow (freeze bows are awesome) or the freeze grenades. As long as you have a way to slow down quick enemies like the Clocktower boss and any elite enemies that can teleport once you take half their health, you’ll have a much easier time pushing forward and finding new permanent abilities.
Super Duper Bonus Tip! My Favorite Weapon and Skill Combinations
The war spear, infantry crossbow, repeater crossbow, and frantic blades are my favorite weapons and the ones that I reached the final boss using. If combined with a mutation that powers your melee power when damaged or drink a health potion, you become a literal tank late in runs. The crusher, ice grenade, and any trap that fires projectiles combined with the trap cooldown mutation or one that boosts your damage near a trap are also very helpful.
Hope these hints help you along the way. Knowing which weapons, mutations, and abilities work best for you will undoubtedly be the difference between making a long run and returning as a corpse five minutes in. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to farm some more dead cells and end the cycle.