The following chapter contains information on cells and how they affect character's development in Dead Cells. You will learn how to obtain them, why they are so important, and how one can lose them.
Cells are treated as experience points. You can use them to unlock permanent skills and bonuses that will be assign to your hero, regardless how many times you will die while exploring further levels. Cells are randomly dropped by enemies that you will face on your way. The more opponents you defeat, the greater is the possibility to obtain cells. Thus, one should reveal the entire map to gather as many of them as possible.
You can also get cells by opening treasure chests. The number of cells will increase accordingly to the level. The same goes for elite opponents and bosses - if you defeat them, your reward will be significant.
If you die during your adventure, all unused cells will be gone for good. The key to success and constant development of your hero is to master your reflexes, game basics and make the right decisions. If you unlocked a passage to another location, and it is highly possible that the next encounter with opponents will finish you, you should proceed forward. You will skip some bonuses but at the same time you will save the remaining ones and your hero will become stronger during the next attempt.
Between every location, you will end up in a place where you can spend your cells, and restore your health. Remember that it is better to use your cells, even if you won't unlock anything, rather than take them to another location. A significant number of cells will not give you anything, except one Steam achievement that you can unlock by losing your cells.
Once in the safe zone, speak with the blue NPC, where you can exchange cells for skills. Keep in mind that not all abilities will be available from the very beginning. You will have to unlock them by defeating enemies and collect Blueprints. Get them and the accessories, weapons and passive abilities will become available in the upgrade menu. There is no special way to obtain specific abilities faster. The process is defined by percentile chance, so the only solution is to complete the game several times.
The first stage of skills requires from 5 to 15 cells but further upgrades can cost dozens or even hundreds units. Description of specific power ups can be found in the right chapter of the game guide. It's crucial that you do not ignore any of the abilities if you wish to reach the last chamber in the game.