Dead Cells

Game review by
Michael Lafferty, Common Sense Media
Dead Cells Game Poster Image
Violent, randomized dungeon crawler is amusing challenge.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

By playing smart, timing your attacks, picking your battles, and being persistent, players will advance through the ever-changing dungeon.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The player's goal is to attack and destroy everything in your path. No room for diplomacy and no personality with character.

Ease of Play

SImple controls, easy to learn, but the difficulty lies in the game's levels, which are progressively challenging, if you die, you start over from the beginning. As a rogue-like, the game features randomized levels and monster placement, making memorization of play impossible.

Violence

Enemies explode into bloody chunks that fly through the air. When main character dies, he regenerates as gelatinous goo that takes a humanoid shape, without a head. Players kill, can be killed in variety of ways, from being hacked to death to arrow, even bombs. 

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Dead Cells is a downloadable 2D arcade-style puzzler for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game's focused on violence, with the main character destroying monsters with a wide variety of weapons and explosives into bloody chunks, while he can be killed in gory ways. When the main character comes back to life, he frequently comes back without a head. Although the controls are simple, the mix of puzzle-based play and randomly generated levels requires a degree of planning and timing to engineer successful attacks.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDebit_Victory August 30, 2018

Game play good - Backdrop questionable

Parents (The Good): If you liked Super Metroid as a kid, you'll LOVE this title! That same sense of rising triumph pervades as new upgrades are unlocked. B... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's it about?

DEAD CELLS begins with a gelatinous bit of goo taking on human form in the prisoners' cells. The plot of the game is to battle your headless way out of this labyrinthian prison with its many levels and roving monsters. Along the way, you'll die, but you will gain new abilities that will carry over to new playthroughs. The levels are procedurally generated, which means each time out is a new challenge. As players explore this maze of levels, they'll discover new weapons to use against opponents, and eventually gain new abilities that will unlock new areas. Combat is full of fast-paced hack and slash action, with some ranged combat tossed in as well.

Is it any good?

While the gameplay of this randomized adventure isn't overly complex, the challenge fuels an addictive puzzler of a game. Dead Cells doesn't bog itself down with overthinking the gameplay aspect, but instead offers up randomly generated levels that have unique monsters to battle. This is a game about timing attacks, like knowing when to use ranged strikes and when to go into melee mode. You'll also need to know when to use items (like a bomb that dazes monsters, making them easy targets) or using a trap to disable opponents (so you can use ranged attacks).  On the plus side, the game's pixelated art style is colorful and moody, and the music is solid. The action evolves, and the dungeons are cleverly done, with plenty to explore. While permadeath is never a huge bonus, in this setting, it creates a sense of wariness. You can't just plow into monsters and count on whittling down numbers thanks to save points, because there are none. Die and you start all over at the beginning, but it won't be the same dungeon crawl you just experienced. It's challenging, infuriating, and engaging at the same time, making you want to dive back in and play as soon as it restarts.

Are there negatives? Some, but they're pretty minor. The explosion of bloody enemies could've been toned down to make it more accessible to a wider audience, even though you're not fighting humans. Plus, some pathways seem unnecessarily hidden -- for instance, you might not be able to see where you need to go on some stages until you're exactly in the right space to navigate through the environment. You'll also find that the gameplay prevents backtracking, so while you may gain a key or ability to unlock a new room or area that you were denied access to, you can't take always take advantage of it on that playthrough; the only way to use this is to die and restart the game. But even with these hiccups, Dead Cells is a lush title where its addictive nature lays in the fact that you can't just run through it.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about violence in games. Is the impact of the violence in Dead Cells affected by the unrealistic combat that you're constantly engaging in? Would it be intensified by fighting against more realistic enemies or with more realistic graphics? How much violence is appropriate in a game?

  • What's more important for a fun, engaging video game - challenging play or realistic graphics?

Game details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love action

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate