Dead Shell's theme is ripping off Doom's. It is undeniable and, as a matter of fact, not a bad thing. However, contrary to what you might imagine, this little game isn't a first-person shooter. Instead, it's an almost classical roguelike, except for one thing. It features the most abstracted type of gameplay that I've ever seen in such a title. Yes, you run through corridors, gunning down vile xenos and picking up loot, but, even though the element of exploration is there, your character doesn't necessarily have to follow the layout of the map. In fact, the sprite doesn't even show up down there.
This non-locality is quite a novel concept. You do appear to start from the well-known dungeon-entry point; however, after having revealed the initial surroundings, along with what's lurking inside them, you're free to choose what to pick-up and what to attack, in any order that you wish. For example, you might have two encounters set up one after the other along a corridor. You may choose to fight the one further away and reveal the next section of the level, without even touching the one in front. Admittedly, this might prove confusing at first and entirely unthematic (which it is). However, your limited ammo and life make it a handy feature. First and foremost, you get to pick your fights instead of bumping into them and, once you discover the exit tile, it lets you figure out how to use your remaining resources to eliminate as many enemies as possible. This system turns the rogue gameplay upside down. From total randomness, you get to a progression of little-to-complete information and freedom of movement (so to speak).
The exploration and 'movement' system is one thing, but what about the rest of it? Well, as long as you've played any roguelike or action RPG, you will quickly get familiarized with the arsenal. You have your standard sidearm initially, but through exploration will salvage crates that contain weapon upgrades, new weapons and, more importantly, the necessary ammo to use them.
There are also eight marine types, seven of which are unlocked in a progressive manner. Each marine has a proficiency with a specific weapon as well a unique skill, which you can use in combat instead of attacking, for example, to freeze the enemies for a couple of turns.
There's not much else to discuss about Dead Shell. As a freemium, you have your standard purchases gem purchases, called DNA here. What's nice is that whatever pack you purchase it will also disable the ads. In this respect, I was tempted to get the cheapest pack, but even so I found it a tiny bit too overpriced for my taste. Who knows maybe the time I'll spend playing Dead Shell will eventually convince me to reward the dev team, but I must first make sure that there's no invisible pay barrier further along the road.
So far though, Dead Shell is a delightful title. It's entirely fit for playing while on the run, or in class. I especially like the tactical feel of approaching encounters, and I would very much like to see the game expanded or spawning a spinoff title.