Behold someone who has clearly played loads of Dead Cells kicking the game’s arse in record time and making it look easy.
Motion Twin’s side-scrolling rogue-lite came out just last month, but before that it spent a year in Early Access on Steam. That’s given a lot of players plenty of time to master the game, including a burgeoning speedrunner who goes by Henpaku. Henpaku set a new record for Dead Cells today with a time of just 12:54. They’ve spent the last several months slowly improving their time through tighter strategies, and the result is an extremely fast-paced, twitchy action game cleanly filleted like a pixelated fish.
Henpaku starts at the beginning of the game in the Prisoner’s Quarters and goes from there to the Promenade of the Condemned, smashing through platforms using an already unlocked Ram Rune and dodging past regular enemies wherever possible. From there they go to the Ramparts and Black Bridge, followed by the Slumbering Sanctuary and eventually the Clock Room. This is currently the fastest path through the game, though it relies on successfully duplicating keys in that last section before moving onto the final battles in the game.
If you haven’t played Dead Cells, the game revolves around trying to exit a Castlevania-like dungeon filled with powerful weapons and upgrades and equally powerful foes. These elements are randomly generated, making it a challenging game to speedrun since there’s very little that’s set in stone or easy for players to memorise. The small group of people speedrunning the game seem to have developed a sixth sense for navigating its chaos.
“For reasons I am not sure how best to explain really, I can predict the location of castle exit with alarming accuracy now,” Henpaku wrote when submitting his record. “It’s not always accurate, and sometimes it doesn’t work. But I’ve noticed that I can probably tell where the exit is about 60% of the time and home in on it very quickly. Best explanation perhaps is that I just played the hell out of this game and now my mind is one with the map generation logic.”
Henpaku’s speedrun is frenetic but satisfying to watch given how smoothly the game’s Assault Shield dash mechanic operates and how it can be combined with other attacks and abilities to whip around levels and boss fights with a mesmerising amount of grace. Awesome Games Done Quick, the annual speedrunning marathon in January, hasn’t announced its 2019 list of games yet, but Henpaku is currently lobbying to get Dead Cells on it. Despite its relatively small speedrunning community, the game’s RNG element and the fact that it’s easily one of the best games of the year so far makes it seem like a good pick.