Review: Dead Cells: Fatal Falls DLC

While overall enjoyable, Fatal Falls can’t help but highlight some of the shortcomings of Dead Cells, as well.

By Nick Dollar. Posted 02/15/2021 23:47 Comment on this     ShareThis
The Final Grade
grade/score info
1-Up Mushroom for...
New levels with their own unique flavors; cool new weapon blueprint to hunt down; it's more Dead Cells
Poison Mushroom for...
Finding a way into the new levels can be tricky; it's more Dead Cells

When Dead Cells was released a little over two years ago I played it nearly every day, running through the levels with the vast array of weapons and tools found throughout the game. The Fatal Falls DLC expands upon that formula and offers new paths to take when traversing through the game. Each of these new areas is filled with new enemies to fight and at least one new boss to encounter as well.

It’s been some time since I last played Dead Cells and each time they put out an update I took another look at it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t pulled back in like I initially was, and after some time and thought with Fatal Falls I think I know why. Whenever I play roguelikes I like to look for powerful combos of abilities that work well together and I also like to have control over what abilities I can get. Of course with every roguelike there is inherently some randomness or it wouldn’t be fun, but having at least marginal control over the randomness allows for better engagement with the mechanics.

Dead Cells at its core doesn’t allow for much control over what weapons or tools you end up getting. While you can of course choose not to use the weapons or tools, it just feels disappointing when you could have potentially gotten an upgrade but a weapon you don’t like ends up dropping from the boss instead. Having to balance the three different stats to get both damage and the much needed HP to survive is a nice mechanic, but the rate of obtaining the scrolls to boost the stats can be very inconsistent. Back when I used to play more frequently I was able to defeat the final boss once, but after that I feel like the difficulty ramps up too fast and inevitably I stopped playing because Dead Cells simply feels too punishing.

Unlocking new weapons and tools in Dead Cells proves to be a conundrum as well. When unlocking a new weapon or tool it can be a double-edged sword as the pool for these items is expanded upon. Meaning, while you might get a great new weapon you love, it could also conversely be a weapon that you don’t like, and in either case the pool of weapons is expanded. The growth of the pool of items can be a detriment because it results in a larger number of middling or even unenjoyable items that can potentially be spawned, so your future runs will end up being more inconsistent when you roll an increasingly bigger die each time a new weapon is unlocked. Thankfully the number of weapons or tools I personally can’t do well with is a fairly short list, but having to pick up some weapons I don’t prefer can doom a run before I really pick up steam.

Still, after having aired my own personal opinions on the core gameplay of Dead Cells, there is nonetheless a lot of cool new stuff to see in Fatal Falls. If you love Dead Cells and want to expand your runs into three new zones, fight a new boss, and obtain new weapons, then you can’t go wrong with Fatal Falls.

Nintendojo was provided a copy of this game for review by a third party, though that does not affect our recommendation. For every review, Nintendojo uses a standard criteria.

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