Death isn’t the end with the Breaking Barriers update (unless you want it to be)
With its new Breaking Barriers update, Dead Cells has added a long list of granular accessibility options — including an Assist Mode — to help struggling players pummel the Hand of the King and ultimately rise the (Boss Cells) ranks. It’s been a long time coming, and for anyone who feels like they’ve peaked in the game, it’s time to circle back.
Using Assist Mode toggles, it’s now possible to reveal the biome’s map, auto-hit enemies with your primary melee weapon, auto-destroy nearby doors, give yourself more wiggle room to land parries, and make traps slower. Similar to Rogue Legacy 2‘s House Rules, there are also sliders — you can lower trap damage, enemy health, and enemy damage.
Bigger yet, Dead Cells now has a resurrection option, meaning death isn’t the end of your run. With revives toggled on, when you die, you’ll resurrect at the start of the current biome in the same condition you originally entered it in. There are options for one, three, seven, or infinite resurrections. Also worth stressing: Achievements won’t be locked out.
“Dead Cells is intended to be tough but fair,” Evil Empire marketing manager Matt Houghton explained in the Breaking Barriers update overview video. “However, we realize that this tough-but-fair experience is just unattainable for some players, for a whole range of reasons. The new options that we’re introducing here should allow these players to make specific, tailored adjustments to the game to remove the barriers preventing them from having that experience, rather than introducing arbitrary difficulty options. We hope that these changes can let more players enjoy Dead Cells as we intended.”
New accessibility features, too
As for accessibility options, the list keeps going: you can customize certain inputs like jumping and rolling, change the HUD size, visually outline elements like the protagonist and enemies so they don’t get lost in the chaos, disable blood, reduce particles, and change up the sound effects. The video up top is an extensive recap, but if you want to skim the Breaking Barriers patch notes, they’re over here. More updates are coming, too.
“If you’re a Dead Cells player who doesn’t need any of the content that we’re introducing in this update, don’t worry,” said the team. “We have plenty of shiny new things to introduce to Dead Cells this year.”
As someone who hasn’t fully cleared Dead Cells‘ rising difficulty tiers and never will, I am all about this Assist Mode. I’m not sure which features I’ll use, exactly, but the idea of defining my own granular ideal experience, and adjusting it as needed to keep the game challenging but not overly so, sounds great. I absolutely flipped on some of the House Rules in New Game+ runs of Rogue Legacy 2, and I don’t regret it. Brick walls be damned. I am fine being stuck for a while — hours; sometimes even days — but I’ve got my limits.
The conversation around video game difficulty is always a lot, but I hope this grows the Dead Cells fandom and helps existing players reach new heights.