Dead Cells just released and it is great. Its art style is stunning and its combat is rewarding, enjoyable, and challenging. However, this difficulty can mean that your first few hours with the game can be frustrating. After spending seven hours with the game, I have been able to compile a list of things that I wish I knew when I started Dead Cells.
There is a small spoiler warning here for some game mechanics and systems that are in the early hours of the game. Therefore, if you wish to discover these mechanics for yourself, do not read any further.
Movement Is Key
The most important thing about Dead Cells and its combat is movement. At all times you should be moving around. Standing still and attacking won’t work. Standing still makes you exceptionally vulnerable to unexpected bombs and arrows. Therefore, when attacking an enemy, always be moving from one side of a platform to the other, which will reduce the chance of getting hit by a bomb’s explosion.
However, another aspect of the movement is even more vital, rolling. In fact, rolling should always be done over simply moving left and right. Rolling covers a greater distance, at a faster speed. On top of that, it also provides you with brief moments of invincibility that can mean the difference between life and death. Always roll when an enemy has a yellow exclamation mark above their head, as it means they are about to attack. You can also roll through enemies allowing you to get behind them and deal a lot of damage. This makes the Shieldbearer enemies much easier to deal with.
Outside of combat, rolling is simply just a good way to speedrun levels, as it allows you to traverse the procedurally generated levels faster.
Spend Cells As Soon As Possible
Cells are a currency in Dead Cells that can be spent towards unlocking permanent upgrades, as well as weapons that can spawn in the level randomly. Cells are represented by blue orbs that are dropped by enemies upon death. You can also see how many you currently have on you by looking above the Gold counter next to the map.
These Cells can then be spent at The Collector, in-between levels of the game. For example, in-between the starting area and the Promenade of the Condemned, likely the first area you will visit, The Collector can be found. Here you can spend those cells in a few different ways. Firstly, you can buy General Upgrades that will permanently upgrade your character, The Prisoner. Some key upgrades here are Health Flask I and II, and Random Starter Bow. The former gives you the ability to restore your health and the latter gives a chance of spawning the Frost Blast ranged weapon at the start, which is incredibly strong and valuable.
Cells can also be spent on crafting ranged and melee weapons from the selection of Blueprints you have found in your run so far. Blueprints randomly spawn from enemies and chests in the game. Crafting these weapons does not grant you with this weapon when you spawn in your cell. Instead, it allows these weapons to randomly spawn in levels of the game. There is not a guarantee these weapons will spawn; however finding one of these can change the course of a run, allowing you to get a strong weapon for free.
The previous tip I gave you is only valuable if you explore. These weapons will not always spawn on the main path. If a path diverts away from enemies be sure to check it out, as it is likely you will find one of those weapons you have unlocked or a blueprint for a new weapon.
Exploring has other benefits though. Secret areas can hold treasure chests that grant you a ton of gold, as well as a powerful weapon you haven’t seen before. However, there are also trick chests that hold an ungodly amount of enemies. I found this out the hard way. Those same side paths can also contain Grenades and Gear, which can be implemented into your attack style. For example, I found a good tactic for facing off against Runners, large enemies with two blades: freeze them with an Ice Grenade and then rush in to attack them rapidly, killing them without breaking a sweat.
The final thing to find by exploring is the Merchant. The Merchant will have a random selection of three weapons, grenades, or gear that can be bought for Gold. They will not always be worth buying. However, it is worth checking to see if there is anything vital there, such as the previously mentioned Frost Blast.
You Should Die
After the Promenade of the Condemned, later areas can become tough. However, they are made significantly easier by investing your Cells in upgrades such as the Health Flask, and Weapon Blueprints. Cells are limited, you will only get around 40 upon reaching the end of the Promenade of the Condemned. Therefore, once investing your cells in an upgrade, it is worth it to die and restart the run. This allows you to build up an arsenal of weapons and equipment that can spawn.
However, more importantly, it allows you to invest in the Health Flask. I recommend upgrading the Health Flask to its second upgrade, allowing you to heal twice. This is invaluable as it almost triples your ability to survive.
Hit Blue Runes On The Walls
This is actually not an especially important tip compared to the others, but it certainly provides a welcome bonus in-game. Throughout the game, you will notice small blue runes on the walls, usually at the bottom. These can actually be hit, revealing a secret. That secret is nothing monumental, it is usually a Gem that will grant you a random amount of Gold, or a Food Item that can restore a percentage of your health. This is valuable, though, as you can spend Gold on weapons and Gear from The Merchant as well as unlock doors that require you to spend Gold.
That covers it for early-game tips for Dead Cells. This game is something special and one of the best released this year. I hope this guide makes the journey as The Prisoner a little easier and more enjoyable. Be sure to check out our review of Dead Cells, as well.
I am a lover of story-driven experiences, such as Life is Strange. As a keen PlayStation fan, I spend too much of my time collecting Trophies for no discernable reason. The moments where I am not wasting time on a trophy hunt are spent sharing my enthusiasm for games through writing.