Dead Cells – Return to Castlevania DLC Review

MSRP: $9.99 Digital (requires Dead Cells full game)Category: DLC – 2D Pixel-Art Metroidvania
Publisher: Motion TwinDeveloper: INTI CREATES
Reviewed on: Nintendo SwitchAlso on: PS4 & 5, Xbox One & Series X/S, PC/Steam

Released Mar 6, 2023


Team up with Richter Belmont & Alucard to battle through the ancient corridors of Dracula’s Castle. Wield iconic Castlevania weapons against hordes of monsters to reach the throne room of the Dark Lord himself…

14 iconic weapons such as the Vampire Killer, Throwing Axe & Holy Water. Each item has been translated into the fast-paced combat of Dead Cells while keeping as much of their original spirit as possible.

2 levels – Dracula’s Castle and the Castle’s Outskirts. Secret rooms. Flame-lit corridors. Gloomy tombs. Beautiful paintings. Food hidden in the walls. Full of original monsters from the series, such as harpies, werewolves & haunted armors , the character of the iconic castle will transport you into the realms of gothic fantasy.

51 original Castlevania tunes in a soundtrack that can be heard across the entire game. On top of this, we’ve taken the 12 most iconic tracks, such as Vampire Killer, Bloody Tears and Simon Belmont’s Theme, and reimagined them in the style of Dead Cells as a soundtrack for the DLC.

New storyline – Richter Belmont and Alucard will be by your side throughout your quest to vanquish Dracula, helping you to navigate the maze of Dracula’s Castle and providing you with strong weapons (sometimes willingly, sometimes not). However, where there is good there is evil, so watch out for powerful foes who will try everything in their power to stop you from reaching the throne room.

3 epic boss fights – Combat the very essence of evil in two intense duels versus Death and Dracula, both set against a majestic backdrop. If you can survive these gauntlets, prepare yourself for our most ambitious boss showdown yet…

20 Castlevania outfits – roleplay as all your favourite characters like Alucard, Richter Belmont , Simon Belmont, Maria Renard, Trevor Belmont, Sypha Belnades, or even Dracula himself!


Return to Castlevania is the newly released Castlevania-themed DLC for Dead Cells, the hit pixel-art 2D side scrolling rogue-like action game. If you haven’t at least given Dead Cells a try by now, you certainly should.

The previews, ads and YouTube trailers for Return to Castlevania almost made it sound expansive enough to be a stand alone game, but it’s “just” very robust feature-filled DLC. It’s obviously been crafted with love, but at its heart this is still the Dead Cells you know and love (or not) so for anyone who didn’t connect with the original Dead Cells, this DLC isn’t likely to change your mind.

One word of warning, however, other than being able to change the title screen to a “Return to Castlevania” theme, the game starts just like it normally would. In fact, if you happen to run down the “wrong” pathway, you might just enter the standard Dead Cells game, and not even bump into the new DLC for a bit.

Keep looking for a stairway heading downwards, and you’ll run into Richter who will setup the story for the DLC. Then you head to the end of the passage way and enter the doorway to “Castle Outskirts”.

The two primary new levels for the DLC include Castle’s Outskirts and Dracula’s Castle, and both include familiar Castlevania enemies and set pieces, which lead you to believe you’ll be fighting Dracula in quick order. Of course nothing in Dead Cells is that simple, and before you know it, you’re thrown a curveball and have to play through some of the core Dead Cells levels in order to reach the end game (I won’t spoil how it goes down, but it’s in the gameplay video below if you want to see it).

The levels, characters and weapons created for the DLC are really nice, and created to blend in well with the rest of Dead Cells. You can eventually unlock new weapons and outfits that give you classic Castlevania vibes, and you can even unlock costumes that completely change your character to look like Simon, Alucard and other series characters.

In regard to audio, the preview trailers made a really big deal about the amount of Castlevania music included in the DLC, along with the “12 iconic tracks reimagined in the style of Dead Cells”, and with good reason. If you play the game in its default settings you get some new Castlevania music along with the classic Dead Cells level music, BUT…if you go into the options menu you can change the soundtrack to be all Castlevania, and not the new music either. You can change all of the background music to be verbatim tracks representing the best of Castlevania’s music history, and it sounds absolutely awesome. In fact, once you’ve had a chance to sample the new tracks in its default setting, I recommend you immediately change the soundtrack to the Castlevania one. It’s that good.

Now whether the Return to Castlevania DLC is fun or not, really comes down to how you feel about Dead Cells. If you’re like me, and you played a lot of Dead Cells when it first released and you just haven’t gone back to it in a bit, this might reinvigorate your love for it. I have certainly played a ton of it since this DLC released. But again, and not to dwell on this, if Dead Cells didn’t click with you or you grew tired of it, it might not be different enough to make it fun for you.

You can watch some beginning gameplay of the DLC in the video below:


Dead Cells: Return to Castlevania is really, really good, and for less than $10, how can you beat all this Castlevania-themed goodness injected into one of the best 2D action games available today? Between all of the cool, hidden Castlevania Easter Eggs, to the amazing full length soundtrack of original Castlevania tunes, to the cool new weapons and enemies, and the seamless way they were able to integrate the new Castlevania content with the legacy Dead Cells content, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.


  • It’s Dead Cells plus Castlevania!
  • New Castlevania specific levels, enemies and weapons
  • Amazing full length soundtrack of original Castlevania tunes


  • Art design of some Castlevania characters feels a bit basic
  • “New” Castlevania music is a little underwhelming
  • You will eventually have to sleep



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