In yesterday’s post I teased that something exciting was coming to Apple TV.
Dead Cells? Excited? ATVG is.
The vast majority of Apple TV games are of course ports of iOS games, and while there are some quality titles among them, the hardware is capable of more. A big flatscreen, controller in hand, and some processing power makes for a console, and deep down, I think Apple TV gamers are really wanting more gaming experiences that validate the console they know they already own.
Way back in 2017, Xander Davis of Astrogun told ATVG, “…there’s actually little difference with what you can do on an Apple TV versus a PS4, except for horsepower (and the gap is closing), at this point.”
Also, mobile hardware has some ridiculous horsepower under the hood, and thankfully, some studios when bringing console titles to iOS have gone the extra mile and added in tvOS and MFi controller support.
Such is the case with publisher Playdigious. Having already brought the excellent Teslagrad from Rain Games to Apple TV, the team will next publish French developer Motion Twin’s rogue-lite, metroidvania, action-platformer – Dead Cells.
Bordeaux-based Motion Twin started out as a developer of free-to-play mobile games, and the step up to Dead Cells as its first PC/console title (released on PS4, Xbox One, Switch, and PC in August 2018) was an ambitious one.
When asked in an interview with Gamecrate about the differences in developing for mobile as opposed to PC/console, Motion Twin’s answer revealed much about the sorts of games the French studio would rather be known for.
“Rediscovering a sense of purpose and happiness we had lost a long time ago? I joke, I joke…,” said the developer. “But the type of F2P games we were making when the internet was really democratizing gaming have transformed into something else. Now you need an analytics and acquisition team that’s bigger than your creative team to get past in that world. So the big challenge was letting go of our old habits and learning to make games based on those subjective qualities, making “good” games.”
Since release, the raft of perfect or near-perfect scores Dead Cells has received indicates the team’s goal of making a “good” game, has not only been achieved, but surpassed.
Castevania: Symphony of the Night is an obvious inspiration for Dead Cells, and Motion Twin namechecks the classic in the same interview with Gamecrate. The namechecking of other, less predictable titles reveal more of the studio’s headspace, such as No Man’s Sky for the colour palette, and the Dark Souls series which, while unexpected for a 2D action-platformer, becomes obvious when Motion Twin points out the “rally mechanic and the punishing enemy difficulty” baked into Dead Cells.
While the punishing, gamble-everything nature of permadeath is constantly hanging over your head in Dead Cells, successive attempts will also unlock permanent abilities that cater for preferred play styles, and make available alternate paths, adding variety and incentive to return for another crack. And more punishment.
Another nod to the Souls series is an all-important evasive roll, and as Motion Twin told Gamecrate, players should “Roll, roll, roll, and then roll some more.”
Combine the collectible abilities, evasive manoeuvres, and more than 50 weapons and spells, and Deads Cells sure sounds like a sum that adds up to good time.
Hitting iOS on August 28, Playdigious told ATVG earlier this week via email that the tvOS version would come some time after the iOS release. So we have confirmation of an Apple TV release, just no date at this stage.
But as soon as ATVG knows, you’ll know.
So that’s the news, what do you think? ATVG thinks Dead Cells will make for a welcome addition to the platform’s catalogue. In the meantime, in case you missed it, check out yesterday’s post where you’ll find two racers (one retro, one modern) and another action-platformer to keep you occupied while you wait for more news on Dead Cells.
Enjoy the trailer:
If you’re new to The Apple TV Gaming Blog (ATVG), or just new to Apple TV gaming in general, or both, then the best place to get acquainted is our Best Apple TV Games of 2019 article. You’ll find a great collection of games to play, and a bunch of useful links to our previous site content. Welcome aboard. Enjoy the ride.