Ever since the original release of Dead Cells, rogue-likes and roguelites have flooded the market, particularly in the indie game scene, where every new indie seems to be derivative of the last. But while many of those games eventually fall to the wayside, Dead Cells has proven itself to be a different beast entirely, pumping update after update out since its 2018 release. Now, more than two years and twenty updates later, Dead Cells returns with another DLC pack titled Fatal Falls, the second paid DLC that adds new biomes, new weapons, and plenty of new ways to die.
When it comes to paid DLC, this question always comes to mind — is it worth buying? Well, let me tell you that the answer is a resounding yes. At just $5, this pack offers more variety to a game that's already constantly in flux and offers new paths for experienced players who want to shake up their mid-game run. However, actually accessing the DLC is up to how good you are.
Bottom Line: Fatal Falls adds a good amount of new mid-game content designed to shake things up for experienced players, though it's not for the faint of heart.
- Value priced at only $5
- New levels and weapons tailored for mid-game playthroughs
- More content for an already content-rich game
- The difficulty may prevent some from fully enjoying
Dead Cells: Fatal Falls for Xbox review A perfect blend of unlikely parts
|Dead Cells: Fatal Falls
|Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4
|Xbox Game Pass
|Yes (base game)
Dead Cells' beauty is how it combines different genres to create a cornucopia of a game that, on paper, maybe shouldn't work well together. On paper, Dead Cells combines the character progression of a game like Metroid or Castlevania with random weapon drops, enemy placements, and changing level layouts. As the undead protagonist, you must fight your way through levels, slashing and jumping your way through different enemies as you collect better weapons and upgrade. Each death restarts your journey — think Groundhog Day with way more swords.
Just like other games in the genre, Dead Cells is difficult. There's no way around it. You will die more often than you think, but Dead Cells is a game that is meant to be replayed. Every run, you get a little wiser and start anew with a pocket full of new skills and weapons to find. Fatal Falls doesn't change this formula; instead, it just adds more goodies to Dead Cells' overflowing pot of content.
Dead Cells: Fatal Falls for Xbox review What's included in the DLC?
Fatal Falls introduces two new mid-game biomes that act as parallels to the game's mid-section levels. The new paths, The Fracture Shrines and The Undying Shores introduce new enemies, new weapons, and a new final boss. In total, there are seven new weapons, 10 new outfits, eight new enemies, and one dangerous new boss waiting to ruin your perfect run.
As the name may suggest, the new biomes have an emphasis on platforming, and they're full of traps that will send you falling to your doom if you're not careful. In keeping with Dead Cells tradition, everything is out to get you, and you'll need to utilize everything in your arsenal to make it out alive. The new weapons continue the trend of being positively insane and unique. Yes, there is a maniacal flying sword now, and yes, it's very cool. The new boss, who fans may recognize as the Royal Gardener gone mad with Malaise, is challenging and, most importantly, fun to fight.
Fatal Falls is only the second paid DLC drop out of the 20 updates released for Dead Cells, and it adds a great amount of content that's sure to entertain players who have explored the game front and back, and just a measly $5, it's hard not to love.
Dead Cells Fatal Falls for Xbox review: You've gotta be this good to play
Fatal Falls is an excellent content pack, but it's also a pack geared towards experienced players, unlike Dead Cells' first paid DLC pack, The Bad Seed, which is meant to offer variety to early game runs. This means that you'll have to at least be able to clear the first boss even to access the Fatal Falls content and be good enough to survive its many new traps. Dead Cells is a difficult game — it's supposed to be, and you're not adept at these kinds of games or willing to die over and over again, Fatal Falls might not be right for you.
This shouldn't deter experienced Dead Cells players or fans of roguelites in general. The difficulty comes with the genre, and players may see the skill ceiling as a deterrent instead of a goal. If you're that type of player, chances are Dead Cells isn't the game for you.
Dead Cells: Fatal Falls for Xbox review: Should you buy?
At just $5, Fatal Falls is a must-buy for Dead Cells fans. It adds plenty of new content worth risking it all for, and if you haven't been indoctrinated by Dead Cells, you can net both Fatal Falls and The Bad Seed in The Fatal Seed Bundle, coming soon to Xbox. Just be sure this is the right game for you. It's a fast-paced, action-packed game that's one of the rogue-likes on the Xbox, and it's not afraid to chew you up and spit you out. With that being said, the base game is available on Xbox Gamepass, so curious gamers will be able to dip their toes in the Malaise before committing.
While rogue-likes have become a dime a dozen, there are still excellent games that rise to the surface and present unique twists on the genre. Just when I thought I was ready to give up on these types of experiences, games like Hades, Star Renegades, and Dead Cells remind me that the genre is still ripe with potential. It's one of the best in its class and one of the best indie games on the Xbox.
Evil Empire and Motion Twin have even more updates in the pipeline, with Update 21 slated for release on consoles in February. Dead Cells is something special and is a game that seemingly keeps on giving, even two years after release. The amount of content and support for this little indie game is something triple-A publishers dream of, and to pack all of this content in a value-priced bow is a feat worth applauding.
Worth the trip
Worth the price of admission
Fatal Falls adds many new levels, weapons, and enemies to keep experienced players hooked. There's never been a better time to play Dead Cells, one of the best roguelites available on the Xbox and PC.
Zackery Cuevas is a writer for Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. I like playing video games, talking about video games, writing about video games, and most importantly, complaining about video games. If you're cool, you can follow me on Twitter @Zackzackzackery.