It’s a new week, and a new Metroidvania released. This one is Death’s Gambit, the debut release from developer White Rabbit. Except, it turns out, that Death’s Gambit is even less of a Metroidvania that Dead Cells, which I reviewed last week. While it does feature a large, interconnected world with unlockable shortcuts, it does not have…
Let’s just get this out of the way: Dead Cells isn’t really a Metroidvania. And that’s fine, because it’s a really good roguelike! But if I’d played it before this week, I might have felt weird including it in my Month of Metroidvanias. In reality, Dead Cells has much more of the modern roguelike’s DNA, complete with permadeath, procedurally generated levels, and some overarching progression mechanics that help players feel more powerful and capable across multiple runs. But despite having the standard formula of a modern roguelike, it also has a couple of major mechanics that it borrows from Metroidvanias, using them to great effect to hone and enhance this formula….
Deep underground, in a hostile uncharted dungeon, I set out from a shrine in search of lost townsfolk and mysterious treasures. After battling through several rooms full of monsters and obstacles, I discovered one of the missing townsfolk. Great! Now I was presented with a choice: trudge back to the shrine and save my game, or forge on ahead looking for the next shrine. I chose to journey forward, health and supplies dwindling, more desperate with each new room I entered. And then eventually……