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Windblown is so much more than Dead Cells 2

Windblown is so much more than Dead Cells 2

I'm afraid I just Windblew myself

There’s an argument to be made that Dead Cells is the greatest roguelike of all time.

Certainly, Motion Twin's 2018 indie darling was a revelation when it blasted onto Steam. Fusing the chaotic nature of a roguelike with the progression of a metroidvania, it only went from strength to strength over the years with a heap of paid and free expansions that cemented its position as a genuine all-timer.

All good things must come to an end, of course, and Motion Twin has turned its sights away from the malaise to decidedly brighter pastures. Windblown, the studio’s new game, shares so much DNA with its predecessor. Yet it also couldn’t be more different.

Check it out below!

Windblown takes place across a series of colourful islands in the sky and, like most roguelikes, sees you fighting your way through various enemy hordes as you explore and experiment with new gear and weapons. Visually it’s somewhere between Hades and Dead Cells, giving us top-down bullet-hall action with a decidedly more vivid palette.

It’s also an impossibly fast game, with a dash move that can see your character zip across the screen in milliseconds. It’s a dash you’ll need to make good use of as increasingly mighty enemies fill arenas with overwhelming attacks. Basically, if you liked Dead Cells, this game will be so entirely your jam that you’ll be eternally grateful the studio didn’t simply move onto Dead Cells 2.

“We were heavily inspired by Japanese action games like NieR Automata,” Motion Twin's Yannick Berthier explained. “Being able to dodge in different ways while still keeping your damage is very important to keep that state of flow.”

Windblown features permanent upgrades which help you out on future runs and even open up entirely new areas, much like Dead Cells. But there’s an even greater focus on experimenting this time around, thanks to the fact every weapon has a special hidden attack that can be activated in conjunction with your secondary weapon. These can range from powerful melee attacks to huge explosions that cause a ton of bonus damage.

You might be wondering, of course, why Motion Twin decided to follow up Dead Cells - an iconic and beloved roguelike - with another roguelike. Any fears the team may simply be resting on its laurels can be swiftly put to one side.

While Windblown borrows some elements from its predecessor, such as the risk-reward approach to progression and cooldown timers on powers and abilities designed to let you go nuts and play around with as many variations as possible, seeing the game in action confirmed to me this is very much its own beast.

Windblown /
Motion Twin

The most obvious difference is that Windblown will let you leap into co-op action with up to three players. Motion Twin explained to me at GDC that the team always knew they wanted to do a co-op game after Dead Cells, and it was actually because of the challenges of introducing this new element that they decided to stay within the realms of the roguelike, something they already know they can nail.

“We wanted to make a multiplayer RPG, but I wanted to reward players every time they start a round, rather than have a vast level difference between friends,” Berthier said. “So a roguelike was the perfect formula for what we wanted to do. And obviously, the experience we had on Dead Cells is a huge help to do that.”

Windblown also has its own cosy little hub area, which is a far cry from the dingy prison of Dead Cells, where you can unwind and plan your next run. Given the fact that at its most intense Windblown somehow looks even more chaotic than Dead Cells, you’ll doubtless be glad of the chance to take it easy.

Like Dead Cells, Windblown will initially launch in early access, later this year. Based on what I’ve seen of the game so far, I feel confident saying Motion Twin has another hit on its hands. Keep your eye on this one.

Featured Image Credit: Motion Twin

Topics: Indie Games