Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania Edition

Posted:  Mar 10, 2023
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Review

Dead Cells is a 2D rogue-lite that is heavily inspired by the metroidvania genre. You will treck through gorgeous, unique environments fighting enemies with an array of weapons and items. The game will require precision and thinking on your feet as you'll have to roll, jump, and climb your way through obstacles and weigh the choices of everything you pick up to become a deadly force to be reckoned with. After each death, you will be able to come back and buy permanent upgrades, and then head right back into the non-linear world where you will find even more secrets, hidden passages, and much more.

Dead Cells is quite possibly one of the greatest rogue-like games I have ever played. The incredible visuals, detailed landscapes, and addicting gameplay loop all come together seemlessly in an amazing combat system that feels fluid with its varied weapons and dodging. This is only made better with the free updates it has gotten, as well as the DLC that have been released for it, which add in new locations, weapons, bosses, and much more. Speaking of which...

Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania - The DLC Itself

The Castlevania DLC for Dead Cells was provided to us by Motion Twin and TinsleyPR for review. Thank you!

The Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania DLC released 3 days ago and I have to say, whoever came up with this idea deserves a large raise. I don't recall one time I felt a crossover fit so well into a game. 2 new biomes, 14 new weapons, 3 bosses, 20 outfits, new enemies, over 60 added music tracks, and a new storyline featuring Richter and Alucard are all part of this $10 package and it is incredible.

After you die a couple times, you will be able to start accessing the Castlevania content, which will be confirmed when you see red bats fly across your screen. From there, just find Richter in the prison and he will start you on your journey into the new storyline.

There is so much I can really say about this expansion, but I can't stress enough how incredible it is. The new weapons, like the Cross, Morning Star, Bible, Vampire Killer, and Holy Water, fit in perfectly, the outfits are great, the music tracks are fantastic, the biomes are gorgeous, and the boss fights...oh the boss fights are epic. I had just made it through Dracula's castle and I thought I was heading to fight him, but no, I was pulled down by a purple chain to be killed by Death, which was an insane battle.

On top of that, being able to put on outfits of Castlevania characters and make yourself look like Richter, Simon, Alucard, Maria, Trevor, and even Dracula while fighting classic enemies of the franchise like Medusa, Werewolves, Buer, Armor Knights, Throw Masters, and more! Overall, for $10, this feels like a steal. And for those who don't have it, there is a bundle for $25 for both the base game and this expansion. I highly recommend it if you haven't taken the dive yet.

A Fantastic Best on Deck Game!

With how amazing Dead Cells is, it's only made better by how perfect it runs on the Steam Deck without any changes! The game will drain around 6W - 8W for a battery life of 6.5 - 7 hours at a solid 60 FPS. There are some small stutters here and there, but I only noticed because I had the overlay on, otherwise, I wouldn't have at all!

I had no issues with controls or visual bugs that appeared. In cutscenes, the screen would turn into letterbox format, but it went right back to the 1280x800 resolution it supports. To make things even more appealing, Dead Cells is being played through a native Linux build, and it runs fantastically.

Conclusion

Dead Cells is one of my personal favorite games. I am a huge fan of roguelike and metroidvania games, and this game does a wonderful job blending the two and refining it to a tee. And with the release of the incredible Return to Castlevania expansion, there is even more reason to jump in now if you haven't. If you don't have this expansion, I highly encourage checking it out, it is $10 well spent! Thankfully, you will also be able to fully enjoy it on the Steam Deck with no compromises needed, making it one of our Best on Deck games! Dead Cells and the Castlevania DLC are essentials to your Deck's library.

Our review is based on the PC version of this game.

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SDHQ's Build Score Breakdown

Dead Cells is quite possibly one of the best roguelike/metroidvania experiences out there with its gorgeous visuals and refined combat, which is only made even better with the new Castlevania DLC. And you can enjoy it all flawlessly on the Steam Deck!

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Noah Kupetsky
A lover of gaming since 4, Noah has grown up with a love and passion for the industry. From there, he started to travel a lot and develop a joy for handheld and PC gaming. When the Steam Deck released, it just all clicked.
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