Dead Cells adds the Hotline Miami chicken dude, who crits stunned enemies with a bat

Hotline Miami's Jacket cleaning house in Dead Cells.
(Image credit: Motion Twin)
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Dead Cells has been incredibly well-supported with free and paid updates ever since launch, to the extent that its latest extravaganza is the sequel to a previous indie crossover. The snappily named "Everyone Is Here Vol. II" update introduces six character costumes and weapons from other indie games and, most impressively, makes their existing abilities operate within Dead Cells' systems.

OK, some of them fit more easily than others. The Guide from Terraria is in here with the heavenly sword Starfury, which causes star fragments to scatter whenever you hit an enemy. There's greatswords of various descriptions in Dead Cells already so this is a fairly straightforward addition, but we're just getting started.

The ubiquitous Shovel Knight, who seems to have crossed-over into any indie that'll have him, arrives here with a shoulder-bashing mechanic that you're meant to chain for critical hits. Chaining enemies could apparently get too easy and cheesy in an earlier iteration, so Motion Twin says "the movement is quite sensitive to make it hard to master."

Subject ZERO from Katan ZERO is next up: complete with majestic katana and the mystical art of chucking things at enemies. Throwables stun enemies, but you only get three before you'll have to get a dash attack or killing blow in order to refill them.

The Commando from Risk of Rain arrives with a laser glaive which is "irresistibly drawn to enemy after enemy, rebounding around the screen dealing damage to as many foes as possible. It gains damage after each extra enemy it hits and will start dealing crits after hitting multiple enemies."

Then my favourite, Hotline Miami's Jacket, who comes complete with three masks and, of course, a baseball bat. Dead Cells already features a mechanic whereby kicking open doors stuns enemies. So Jacket's playstyle is about stunning enemies and dealing crits with the baseball bat, whereupon you get the exact Hotline Miami VFX.

Finally there's Slay the Spire, which sounds incredibly complex. The Diverse Deck is a weapon that translates each of StS's four classes into skills which are passive, that can then be activated for a one-off boost, after which you become the next class skill.

There's a lengthy explanation of how it all works in the patch notes, but the short version is: you start as Barricade with extra health and health-based bonuses; this becomes Catalyst, which makes you melee attacks poisonous; this becomes Electrodynamics, which creates lightning orbs that circle around you zapping things; finally comes Foresight, which lets you avoid damage regularly, but can be activated for a period of invulnerability, after which it cycles back to Barricade.

I mean, Motion Twin really does put the effort in. The new outfits and characters are unlocked via riddles in the book of clues found in the opening area.

"We haven't forgotten about adding more 'pure' Dead Cells content," says the developer at the end of these notes. "That adventure will continue in 2023 and keep an eye out for some news in December…"

Rich is a games journalist with 15 years' experience, beginning his career on Edge magazine before working for a wide range of outlets, including Ars Technica, Eurogamer, GamesRadar+, Gamespot, the Guardian, IGN, the New Statesman, Polygon, and Vice. He was the editor of Kotaku UK, the UK arm of Kotaku, for three years before joining PC Gamer. He is the author of a Brief History of Video Games, a full history of the medium, which the Midwest Book Review described as "[a] must-read for serious minded game historians and curious video game connoisseurs alike."