Mortal Shell The Virtuous Cycle DLC Impressions – More of the Same

Alongside the Steam release of Mortal Shell developers Cold Symmetry have created DLC for their punishing action-RPG. This DLC is called The Virtuous Cycle and it introduces a new weapon, new Shell, and new game mode to the title. I got chance to play the DLC. Read my Mortal Shell The Virtuous Cycle DLC impressions below.

Making Mortal Shell a Roguelike

The major focus of this DLC content is a new Roguelike game mode players can access called The Virtuous Cycle. This game mode takes place on the main map of the game but features a number of gameplay twists to make it replayable and more difficult.

To start you select your weapon, Shell, and a parry. Once you’ve made these selections you are placed in the main Fallgrim area of the base game. From here you are free to explore each of the different locations. In each location you encounter various enemies from the game. To advance you need to defeat these enemies and find special pillars that contain unique traits and passive abilities. These pillars are how you create your build for each run.

The abilities and traits you find come in a variety of rarities. The lowest and most useless is common and they go all the way up to Legendary. The higher the rarity the more impactful the stat upgrade or ability. As you playthrough a run the lower tier abilities can upgrade as you complete specific actions like getting kills.

From a gameplay perspective the abilities and traits system creates an interesting system for each run. Like most Roguelikes you are largely at the mercy of RNG, but runs can get pretty nutty with the combinations you can make. You are also rewarded for playing well as leveling up perks can really make you very powerful.

To complete a run in The Virtuous Cycle you need to complete a full playthrough of the main game. This means you go to all of the different locations, defeat the bosses and collect the Glands. Once you do this you face a new, underwhelming, boss fight that has been added for this game mode.

Death, Death, and more Death

Like most Roguelikes you will die a lot. This is due to how the enemies are laid out. You will notice there are a ton of enemies in The Virtuous Cycle. These enemies are largely randomly placed and can be a bit frustrating at times to deal with as the sheer number in each area is high. Like the base game I found the enemy grouping to get a bit annoying especially when you clear a dense area and there’s nothing there for you.

When you do die your run comes to an end. You are returned to Fallgrim Tower where you can spend resources you’ve acquired to permanently make next runs easier. Things like starting trait rarity, tower costs, and keeping your Tar upon death are some passives you can purchase. This makes each run contribute to your overall future progress which is nice.

New Shell and Weapon

Alongside the new game mode there is a new Shell and weapon for players to unlock and use. The new Shell is everyone’s favorite boss, Hadern. This Shell plays like an amalgamation of the different shells in the game. Hadern pulls from the different abilities of these shells to form the majority of his build.

The new weapon is the Axatana. As the name suggests this weapon is a mixture of Katana and Axe. There is a fairly interesting weapon transformation you can use to go between the two weapons which I liked quite a bit. This new weapon has its own upgrade path for players to complete as well.


If you’re a huge fan of the base game of Mortal Shell The Virtuous Cycle DLC is going to be something you want to pick up. The new mode does enough to add a new spin on the base game making it fresh to jump back into. With that said if you are on the fence or were looking for new content there really isn’t much here that’s ‘new’ besides some achievements and the Shell and weapon. The game mode is you replaying the game multiple times with a new spin being put on the character build mechanics. This may be fun for some but not so much for others.

What are your Mortal Shell The Virtuous Cycle DLC impressions? Let me hear them in the comments below.


Enricofairme is the founder and lead writer on He has been creating content about video games for the past 6 years. You can follow Eli on Twitter @enricofairme.

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2 responses

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  2. Frank says:

    To complete a run I would use say tiel and I have to beat the game with him. How do I complete 7 runs ? After the first game do I start another new game or go to NG+ and do I lose everything I got on the first game.
    I’m just so confused, I hope someone can explain it as I have tiel now and beat temple of Ash and got the gland and a temple popped up and ask if I wanted to give the gland and I said yes and took me back to fall gram. I hope I did it right.

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