‘Dead Cells – The Queen And The Sea’ review: another slice of dungeon dwelling adventure

It’s more ‘Dead Cells’, what’s not to love?

What can I write about Dead Cells at this point? Somehow, it’s become a constant over the last five years of my life, a roguelike that offers pacey combat with meaningful progression, including the trappings of a Metroidvania, a genre I adore.

At it’s best, Dead Cells is like a good action movie, with you effortlessly diving between innumerable foes, parrying arrows with a shield and hacking away, evening the odds strike by bloody strike. It feels about as dramatic as the last sentence, too, and the intensity is high from the game’s opening moments and doesn’t let up.

In my opinion Dead Cells is a 5-star all-time game. That’s not in any doubt. The question is whether Dead Cells‘ newest paid DLC release, The Queen And The Sea, adds enough to warrant picking it up.

As the target audience: The Queen And The Sea adds new content to a game I adore, so I enjoyed myself immensely. However, this DLC’s big narrative draw is three new late-game levels, with the third being a boss fight to tie of an alternate story path. This story has been fleshed out via the previous paid DLCs Fatal Falls and The Bad Seed, and if you haven’t bought these DLCs then you’re not really getting the full experience. If you have already bought these DLCs, hey, you’re probably invested enough that you’ll pick this one up, too.

Dead Cells: The Queen And The Sea. Credit: Motion Twin.
Dead Cells: The Queen And The Sea. Credit: Motion Twin.

I’m going easy on the spoilers, but do want to point at the second level in the set, Lighthouse, which feels totally unique for Dead Cells in that it forces you to move vertically up through a burning tower. The game has done verticality before, but there’s a real urgency here that I think offers a unique challenge for people that have rinsed everything on offer in the 2017 game.

But ultimately it’s not the extra levels that are the real draw here, it’s the new content that can be put into your actual runs: new things to spend souls on, new weapons to master, new abilities or boons to select that can change established strategies. Dead Cells has been a constant for me over the last few years both due to its presence on the Nintendo Switch for quick and easy runs, and the fact that you can get the full experience of Dead Cells in a 20 minute play session.

This review, for better or worse, is very simple. Dead Cells is superlative, and this brings more content to the table. The new weapons, abilities and even outfits provide a nice refresh for a game where replaying it is most of the fun, but as this Dead Cells chapter closes, it’s interesting to think about what might be coming next.

We reviewed Dead Cells – The Queen And The Sea for the Nintendo Switch. It’s available now on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch and PC

The Verdict

Dead Cells‘ latest DLC is a great addition to a solid game. If you’ve been hankering for more adventures with the game, The Queen And The Sea is a giant stone tossed into Dead Cells‘ waters, making changes you’ll feel through every run. Sometimes that’s enough. The new weapons, abilities and even outfits will mix things up, making this DLC a worthy purchase for any Dead Cells fans.

Pros

  • Enough new content to significantly change runs
  • New levels add interesting new perspectives for the roguelike
  • Top tier music and dungeons

Cons

  • If you’re not a fan of Dead Cells, this DLC probably won’t change that
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