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Dead Cells Update 21 releases Free for all owners

dead cells update 21 releases free for all owners in linux gaming mac and windows pc

Dead Cells Update 21 releases Free for all owners in Linux gaming, Mac and Windows PC. Thanks to developer Motion Twin. Now adding a ton of content to the game. Which is available on Humble Store, Steam and discounted on GOG.

Dead Cells Update 21 is now live and free for owners on Steam. The update also introduces several new shiny things to play with over the holidays. Along with some broader gameplay changes across Linux gaming, Mac and Windows PC.

There’s a TLDR and an overview below. But if you want to get the full detail head over here for the patch notes. As Update 21 releases, we have the full overview text below. So you don’t need to go looking in the Dead Cells patch notes.


  • Colour scaling rework
  • Malaise rework
  • New mutations
  • New mob, weapon, outfits & diet
  • Backpack rework
  • Hand of the King lore room
  • Usual QoL fixes

The Dead Cells reworks will need some explaining for people who haven’t been keeping up to date through the alpha. While Update 21 releases, lets run through all of the ‘minor’ bits first.

Minor Changes:

  • New Weapon
    The most requested weapon from the community is now in the game. The Katana allows you to chain a standard slash with a dashing charge attack. Simpley by holding the button. But for the full experience, wear the Ninja outfit at the same time.
  • New Mob
    This is the first mob in Dead Cells inspired by a Discord community suggestion.
  • Using the Explosive Crossbow, the Demolisher will blast you from a safe distance. Likewise, it can be found ignoring all health & safety rules and blowing things up in the Distillery at BC0. As well as several places later on, mostly as an alternative upgrade to the Knife Thrower.
  • New Outfits
    There are some jolly new outfits in this update, including 2 Christmas themed ones. So enjoy!
  • Hand of the King lore room
    The mystery man becomes slightly less mysterious with a new lore room hidden somewhere in the castle…
  • Cheese diet
    No self-respecting French studio can pass up the opportunity to let you eat cheese. So Motion Twin are giving you the option to heal yourself in Dead Cells with a nice smelly slice of Camembert!

So that’s all the big shiny pretty stuff, now on to the major changes.

Teaser for Dead Cells: Fatal Falls DLC (Linux gaming, Mac, Windows PC)

Weapon colour rework

Colours are losing the consistency of playstyle between the 3 colours. So now, Update 21 releases a change to the scaling for a good chunk of items and mutations. So players can refocus each statistic on its primary identity.

  • Tactics keeps all things related to ranged gameplay: turrets, range weapons, with some utility and damaging spells to support it. And Dual scales with anything that doesn’t fit in that category. But is poison or electricity gameplay (e.g. Sadist’s Stiletto is a melee weapon. So it shouldn’t scale with Tactics, but as it’s crits work on poison gameplay. It’s still a red/purple dual scaling weapon).
  • Brutality keeps its focus on fast Dead Cells melee weapons. As well as everything related to jumping into the melee. Grenades stay mostly red. Dual scale with anything that wouldn’t fit in that category. But is fire or blood gameplay.
  • Survival keeps its focus on crowd control, survivability, shields and slow, heavy melee weapons. They also come with support by heavy damage skills. Including the long cooldown that goes with it. Dual scale with anything that wouldn’t fit in that category that is root or ice gameplay.

In addition, the health points scaling of Brutality and Survival now has a decrease. Which comes in the late game. While Tactics are now receiving a very slight increase. However, you can feel it mostly at high scrolls counts. So you won’t feel it until late game at 3BC+ in Dead Cells.


The Backpack from the 19th update to support transitioning from 2-slots weapons to two different 1-slot weapons. It’s now a meta upgrade unlocked at the Collector. Like Recycling or the random starting weapon tubes. And you can use it with any type of weapon.

Available in Linux gaming, Mac and Windows PC. You can now store any weapons in your backpack. Except 2-handed weapons and the Giantkiller. You can do so by pressing the backpack key (Y on Xbox controller, △ on a PlayStation one) when picking a weapon. Empty your backpack by holding the “use” key.
The Dead Cells video settings have also been added to accommodate everyone’s backpack preferences. You can choose to put the backpack slot to the right of your skill slots. Or do so in-between your weapons and your skills. Plus there is a slider for opacity.


Five new mutations have been added. Three with the initial design to support two-handed weapons through the backpack slot. But after some testing, Motion Twin will let them be used with any type of build:

  • Acrobatic Preparation: Attacking with a ranged weapon also attack with the ranged weapon in your backpack. Roll to reload. (Tactics).
  • Porcupine Backpack: Rolling through enemies attacks them with the melee weapons stored in your backpack. (Brutality)
  • Tortoise Wheel: Rolling parry attacks and projectiles with the shield stored in your backpack. (Survival)

The Dead Cells, fourth mutation, Fatal Cadence (Survival), increases your attack speed. Doing so when alternating in-between primary and secondary weapon slot.

The final mutation, Ranger’s Gear (Tactics) is like Scheme, but for ranged weapons. Therefore your next ranged attack after using a skill will deal extra damage.

Dead Cells Malaise

Thanks to feedback through alpha and beta. The improved Dead Cells Malaise mechanic arrives:

  • The bar now fills with game time, but pauses in lore rooms, chest rooms, shops. The malaise contamination rate is linking to the number of enemies still alive in the level. So, the fewer enemies, the less quickly your malaise bar will fill. When only 10% of the enemies are left alive, the biome is then “Malaise cleared”.
  • The higher the malaise, the more dangerous the enemies (increased movement speed, quicker teleport, shorter reaction time and at the latter stages, increased damage).
  • Enemies will also randomly spawn around you and from time to time. Plus an enemy will transform into an Elite. The spawn rate and Elite rate will also increase with Malaise.
  • Being hit in Dead Cells doesn’t increase your malaise anymore. Killing enemies, Elite, and Bosses decreases your malaise gauge.
  • Food looted in walls is always contaminated. So it will increase your Malaise bar. While the “healthy” food looted on enemies doesn’t decrease your Malaise bar. Healing with your flask does heal some Malaise too.

Malaise Cleared:

  • The “Malaise Cleared” event completely stops the bar from filling until the end of the biome. And even decreases your malaise gauge with the amount you would get by killing all the enemies left in the level. However, these enemies won’t give you any more malaise reduction. Dead Cells Mobs and Elites will stop spawning for the rest of the level.

Motion Twin are aiming to give a cycling nature to the mechanic. But with a Malaise that should stay in-between 3 and 7 during most of the run (except boss fights). Currently, all mutations and items interacting with the Malaise have seen that aspect of their design disabled. While future updates will let Motion Twin tweak it slightly when they need too.

Best of the rest

  • All biomes in BC3+ have less mobs overall.
  • An option to disable the gameplay slow motion (most notably when elites die) has been added.
  • 2 slot weapons can now have different affixes on each part.

Dead Cells Christmas & beyond

Christmas is four days away, so obviously, most of the Dead Cells team is leaving for holidays until early January. But Motion Twin will be checking in just in case anything happens. So don’t expect much news until early January.

Update 21 releases Free for all owners in Linux gaming, Mac and Windows PC. The game is available on Humble Store, Steam and discounted on GOG.

Speaking of January, the next Dead Cells DLC, Fatal Falls, is just over a month from release. So be sure to add it to your Wishlist it on Steam. Coming with support in Linux gaming, Mac and Windows PC.

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