The new roguelike from the Dead Cells devs looks like an incredible co-op Hades where the dodge is intentionally overpowered

Dead Cells is officially finished after seven years of support, and based on what I've seen of it so far, developer Motion Twin's next game may quickly take its place in the hearts of many fans and join the ranks of the best roguelikes. Windblown is an isometric action roguelike with support for up to three-player co-op, it's hitting PC early access later this year, and it looks like a compelling mix of modern genre staples and Dead Cells DNA.

Motion Twin released a new trailer for Windblown earlier today, and GamesRadar+ sat in on an extended hands-off showcase beforehand. The trailer hits the same high notes as the reveal, but in a little more depth: a colorful world, cute playable characters with a bestial, fishy theme, melee and bullet hell combat, and a die-respawn-die gameplay loop. Defend the Vortex from the nefarious Sentinels, and build the best character you possibly can. Windblown is more sprawling than Dead Cells but shares its single-minded focus on action. It's also a heck of a lot faster, which is saying something. 

What really jumps out to me is how proudly Windblown glues things together with a lightning-fast dodge, as designer Yannick Berthier explained in a presentation. Sweeping enemy attacks and intense boss combos vanish in your flurry of i-frames, and your fittingly named Leaper scales lengthy chains of fantastical floating islands as easily as you or I might walk up stairs. "Dashing is part of the combat, it's part of the exploration, it’s part of everything," Berthier says. "It's a really free way to move. You don't really have to think about how to do stuff, it’s just about ‘where do I want to go.'"


(Image credit: Motion Twin)

Dead Cells is obviously the primary reference here, but I can't help but see the likes of Hades in the presentation of Windblown's combination of melee and ranged combat, cooldown-based support items called Trinkets, and its mix of draftable stat and gear upgrades. In the preview I saw, alternating between ranged kunai – with a familiar embed effect that I think is partly what's bringing Hades to my mind as a topical touchstone – and a hefty greatsword would bust out a fancy Alterattack combo. There's a similar flow to the dungeons too, with branching paths putting challenge rooms and extra healing on the scales of risk and reward. It's all very Motion Twin, but modernized and translated for 3D play. 

The roguelike cascade looks as engrossing as ever. As you clear chambers and challenges, you'll obtain Gifts packing passive abilities like one that summons homing arrows on hit, boosts for basic stats like health and damage, and blueprints for additional weapons to find in future runs. The discrete resources you amass can be spent at base, a homey little hub called the Ark, on permanent upgrades like more healing items and improved starting gear. Faster, stronger, more broken – the allure of the perfect run is unmatched, and Windblown openly encourages you to chase it. Brave the procedurally generated islands alone or with up to two buddies, then bring your haul back to the hub to cash in. 


(Image credit: Motion Twin)

Windblown strikes me as a classical game executed with the polish of an experienced team, and elevated by the sizable addition of co-op (which I sadly didn't get to see in the alpha build shown off). It oozes textbook roguelike fun, and I can't wait to get my hands on it myself. 

"Windblown’s closed alpha period recently concluded, with a number of key improvements to the game being incorporated following player feedback, including beefed up versions of Alterattacks plus new and surprising types of enemy encounters to keep players on their toes," Motion Twin says. "Players hoping for a chance to take part in the next closed playtest can sign up for more information on the game’s official website." 

Elsewhere, a dev on my most-anticipated open-world game talks about the exact things I was hoping for: roguelike build-crafting and cool hoverboards in Hyper Light Breaker.

Austin Wood

Austin freelanced for the likes of PC Gamer, Eurogamer, IGN, Sports Illustrated, and more while finishing his journalism degree, and he's been with GamesRadar+ since 2019. They've yet to realize that his position as a senior writer is just a cover up for his career-spanning Destiny column, and he's kept the ruse going with a focus on news and the occasional feature, all while playing as many roguelikes as possible.