Hugh Likes Video Games: Dead Cells

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Dead Cells
Published by Motion Twin
Played on Nintendo Switch


The Skinny – A challenging Rogue-Light platformer that respects its roots.

Dead Cells is a Rouge-Light action platformer in the mould of Castlevania, and while it nails the atmosphere, and critics aren’t wrong, this indie Switch game reminded me a lot more of early classics like Castlevania III and Rondo of Blood than Symphony of the Night and its descendants.
The game nails the spooky atmosphere, set on a crumbling prison island suffering under a despotic tyrant and a mysterious plague. The player controls a characters called ‘The Prisoner’ who, due to his understanding of alchemy, cannot die, and is attempting his escape. Each death sends him back to the beginning of the game to try again. Between levels, the player can spend special drops called Cells on unlocking randomly generated weapons, increasing the player’s ability to carry potions, or other goodies.
The levels themselves are randomly generated and huge with some parameters. They each have an overall design structure, and have multiple paths that are gated behind runes you unlock by beating certain bosses. Because you are always moving forward, these alternate paths unlock on subsequent attempts. It’s an elegant use of the rogue-like structure, making some abilities random while also giving the player a sense of progression.
The stylish pixel art and maze-like levels are fun, and the combat feels is fast paced and challenging. Some of the really good items between levels cost a lot of souls to unlock, but you’ll be dying plenty of deaths, so it doesn’t feel like the player will miss anything by winning too quickly.
Dead Cells is a tough-as-nails, tongue-in-cheek Rouge-Light action platformer. you can play it on Steam or the major home console of your choice. It does some fun things with the subgenre and looks gorgeous, and if like me, you are still smarting from the lack of new Castlevanias, it makes for an engaging and addictive substitute.

The Voyage 040: Francine

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Francine lay out her Mistress’s dinner dress while Lady Caroline Wentworth engaged in her toilet.  Normally, she would help with her bathing, but the cramped confines of the suite’s private bathroom made this impossible.  She just finished laying out the gown when she felt arms wrap around her and kisses on her neck.
“Your Lordship!  She will hear…”  She said to Lord Horace, her employer and lover.
“Let her,” he said.  Pressed against her, she felt the gun in his pocket.  She pulled away.
“You can’t mean to…”  She couldn’t finish the idea.
“Accidents happen over the Atlantic,” he said.

The Voyage 039: Malcolm

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Malcolm watched the massive airship pass from the observation platform at the top of the Star Building.  After verifying the ship’s flags, he rushed downstairs and back to his typewriter.
The HMS Indomitable, newest aeroship of the private Atlantic Steam line, left York today for its third trans-Atlantic flight.  Although some critics continue to raise questions of the craft’s safety, Lady Hamilton and her granddaughter and Lord and Lady Wentworth were on board, as was the ship’s prodigy designer Nelson Pembrooke  If they are not delayed by weather, the Indomitable will reach London in an incredibly fast three days.

The Voyage 036: Erzabet

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The viewing stand was quite far from the airstrip, on the other side of the field.  Erzabet stood in the crowd, watching the massive lighter than air craft ignite her propellers and lift off from a safe distance.  She gripped her belly nervously, and watched the great ship rise into the sky like some fantastic beast.  She wished that her beloved Isaac was the engineer on a train instead.  It wasn’t that she feared for his safety more, but that she could have held him longer, stayed closer, and heard his voice calling to her rather than the cheering crowd.

The Voyage 035: Hattie

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Hattie was dying for a cigarette.  Unfortunately, there seemed to be no place on this accursed vessel for her to smoke.  They were barely off the ground but she had already been repeatedly harangued about the flammability, and the inflammability of the hydrogen gas that kept the airship aloft.  It seemed perfectly daft to her.  The rudeness was galling.  Eventually, she ventured out onto the rail.  The wind would do, she reasoned, to  hide the smoke.  She paused when she saw the young couple talking next to one of the roaring turbines.  With a faint smile, she withdrew back inside.

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The Voyage 034: Nelson

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A dozen meters below them, a young man lay on a railing, sketching a propeller.  He moved his pencil lightly but with precision, absorbed in his work.
“Aren’t you cold?”  A voice asked. making him jump and drop his tools.  He managed to grab the notebook, but the pencil slipped over the side and tumbled end over end to the ground far below.  He rose and turned to see a beautiful girl of his own age wrapped in  a shawl.  “Oh, dear.  I apologize,” she said.  He smiled.
“I have others.  I’m Nelson Pembrooke.”
“Penelope Hamilton.”  She smiled dazzlingly back.

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The Voyage 033: Hedwig

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“Well I will have you know that there is a,” Hedwig paused for effect.  “Resonance.  I felt it the moment I stepped on board.  There’s a doom about this ship.”  Arthur scoffed.
“I’ll have you know my cousin is a very talented medium.  We are traveling to London for the exhibition,” Lula said.
“As entertainers?”  He was a skeptic, a man of reason.  But they were the most fun to reel in, and she had a week.  Business was waiting for her in England, but this would be for pleasure. She dismissed the itch at the back of her skull.

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