Version 0.889a


Staff member
Summary: Arcade Mode additions + changes, and enemy balance changes

Recommended level: N/A

Update Description


Note: This is one of those real Frontline updates, where sounds are missing, some graphics are placeholder etc! The gameplay should hold up well, though!

About the changes

So while Fred and Vilya have been making graphics for the upcoming Story Mode polish phase (wrapping up loose ends in the game world), the programming budget has been put towards a last push at making Arcade Mode a more pleasant experience, and in the process improving some enemy behavior for both Arcade and Story.

If you've been on the fence about Arcade Mode before, please do give it a try to see if you enjoy it more now!

Enemy Changes

A bunch of enemies have received changes of differing magnitude, and the shield has become stronger in general - especially shielding without perfect guarding. All these changes are basically "quality of life" changes that remove certain jank scenarios, especially for people playing close-range builds.

You can see the details in the patch notes, but the kind of changes we're talking about is stuff like more readable indicators, less disruptive randomness, more clear windows of vulnerability, etc.

Arcade Mode

In what will be our final attempt at sweeping changes to Arcade Mode to make it more accessible, we've made three significant additions to it: Pins, Length Reduction and Catalysts.


When playing Arcade Mode, it's easy to fall into a groove of doing the exact same thing over and over, and it can become quite monotonous. Pins is a mechanic that, when unlocked (happens early), will give the player various modifiers that can make them very powerful if used the right way. Your arrows might suddenly explode on impact, basic attacks might empower the next spell, or you may simply get a cloud summon for free! The idea with the pins is to give a little bit more uniqueness to every run.

There's currently 100 different pins available, and four can be equipped at the same time.

Length Reduction

Before this update, Arcade Mode featured two floors per biome. The floors also increased in size as you went, resulting in one complete run being an endurance test that could last well over an hour. Looking forward, with the Dragonbone Dunes and Lost Ship being added, the double-floor layout seemed unsustainable.

So, we've now made each floor represent its own biome, and also capped the maximum amount of regular rooms that can be created each floor. We hope this will result in less fatigue when playing!

As a part of this we've also introduced "gauntlet rooms", which is basically regular rooms but with different types of enemy reinforcements arriving! These rooms are generally much tougher than the normal battle rooms, and adds some variation to the run.

Catalysts (Difficulty Range)

Lastly, Arcade Mode has been way too difficult. A player that could easily beat Story Mode might struggle greatly to get even halfway through Arcade.

We still wanted the skill ceiling in Arcade Mode to be very high, so we decided to implement difficulty looping (like Dead Cells' loop mechanic Boss Cells, etc).

By beating Arcade Mode (a proposition that's no longer a Herculean achievement) you will unlock a Catalyst that can be inserted into the Grindea-statue in Arcadia. Beating the mode again will unlock another Catalyst, up to a maximum of 3.

With this, there are now four difficulties in Arcade Mode. The new "vanilla" difficulty should be a decent challenge for people who are used to Story Mode. With all three Catalysts equipped, it's extremely difficult, yet more fair than the old Arcade Mode thanks to the reduction of absurd situations.

What do you mean "final attempt" at Arcade Mode?

Obviously this is not the end of Arcade Mode in terms of actual content; the new floors must still be added, and we'll also be adding a little final segment for those mad enough to beat it with all three Catalysts. Content pieces like additional pins or new event rooms is also very likely to get added, as well as changes to dysfunctional sub-systems (like more interesting bets made by Bishop during the runs).

However, as mentioned above, we don't want to make any more big overhauls after this. We feel like we've done what we can to make the mode approachable now, and any further effort into widening the appeal will likely not be worth it.

Next Up: Apart from fixing bugs that appear in relation to the new stuff, I'll probably do some additional quality of life-improvements before putting these things on Stable.

After that, I'll shift most of my focus towards Story Mode-related stuff for the time being!



  • A new mechanic - Pins - has been added to Arcade Mode!
  • Arcade Mode has received a rebalance and slew of changes, including reducing the number of floors
  • In-game chat command /overrideinput added, to help in setups where the keyboard resumes command - type '/overrideinput 1' for default controller slot
  • Beating Arcade Mode with 100 % or more score multiplier unlocks Catalysts, increasing the difficulty
  • Bee and Bird attacks now deal significantly reduced damage to shields, so blocking many of them is much less risky
  • Enemy projectiles reflected by Perfect Guard now passes through most obstacles
  • The shield now recovers much quicker when broken
  • The shield breaking now offers a small window of invulnerability
  • Bombs spawned from Presents are now much easier to push around while moving
  • The Wisps have had their projectiles reworked
  • Brawlerbots now show an indicator if they are about to flank you
  • The Power Flower-battle has been adjusted slightly to make it easier to avoid a certain death-state
  • Tornadoes spawned by Autumn and Autumn Mages are now nearly static but can appear anywhere
  • The spin done by Autumn Knights can now be interrupted by shielding
  • Thorns summoned by Summer Mages now get removed in one hit
  • A bunch of enemies now idle for a little while extra if their attack is shielded (non-PG)
  • Spinsects should now behave a bit better in multiplayer
  • Echoes of Madness now telegraph their flanking intention, and will not flank on Normal difficulty
  • Changed the timing of elite Statues on all difficulties, and added shockwaves on harder ones
  • The Plasma Bracelet has been slightly nerfed
  • Enemies in Arcade Rooms now have a (very) short delay before taking action upon entering the room
  • The winds in Arcade Mode Seasonne are now much less oppressive
  • The Tier 2 rings now cost a bit less in Arcade Mode
Bug Fixes
  • The Lantern Jack projectiles should no longer sometimes get past your shield in weird angles
  • Fixed an issue that sometimes made clients unable to drink potions
  • The Mimic Shockwave challenge in Arcade Mode should no longer disrupt Shadow Clone or Cloud
  • Mini-Bubbles spawned from perfect guarded Bubbles vs Captain Bones no longer damage players
  • Gold Smashing a Spinsect into Power Flower should no longer displace it


Nice to have an update on the Arcade mode! Under this difficulty (or simplicity I suppose?) I can finally beat Arcade mode once!

With some bug reports of course:

1. The aura of the elite enemies remains on the floor when the traveller smashes all enemies with one hit.

2. The tiny thunder cloud summoned by the pin jitters wildly on the remainings of the stone boss in the winter land.

3. Opening Cutscene_MeetPinTraveller001 in the translation tool will crash the tool.
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Staff member
Okay, the Translation Tools should soon get updated with a version that can handle the new portraits!


I'll join TSReasper with a similar experience: I was never able to get to MtBloom before - now I could finally beat Arcade Mode on easiest difficulty on the first try! After the first catalyst the difficulty feels about the same as before (keep dying in Season Temple), so I assume more catalysts = more hell, so I'll keep my distance from those :D

Some more bugs:

- Elite-effect remains when Traveler appears
- Using the Booby Trap Curse still makes chickens spawn stuff when herding. I think I reported it once upon a time and wasn't sure if it's intentional. If it is, in my opinion it shouldn't be active during challenges at all, only in regular rooms. Especially when you get the challenge with a lot of chickens that you have to herd in quick succession, them spawning bombs after entering the coop makes it really tough and unreasonably so.
- Like the baby cloud, the summer fae also continues casting Fireballs in sight direction after boss fights such as Vilya.
- I had one major glitch where out of several Wisps one left the area bounds and couldn't be hit by anything (Fireball Fae, Bow etc.). I'm not sure what triggered it, but in the room before that I had accepted the double damage challenge. I wanted to check out the replay to see what happened but Teddy's unlicensed workers messed up the cinema :D
- Receiving a Lood Egg during a run, putting it into the coop and then talking to Richie makes him think you still have it, thus triggering the prompt about exchanging it vs. the 25% more insurance. Selecting yes does nothing.
- For some reason I'm stuck with 1 candy cane that's supposedly for taming either Gifts or Presents, but none of them trigger the taming mini-game (yes, I cleared the room of everything else before trying). They are interrupted for a short moment from their usual enemy routine but they don't come towards you.


- I think the shield pin animation visual isn't very intuitive. When I got the pin, it said something about circles that appear when the shield breaks but until it actually broke in the run, I completely forgot about it and ran out of the blue animations because they looked like fiery hazards (even though they're blue). I think they should resemble a shield and look more friendly to make you want to run into them rather than away from them.
- There should be an option to activate/deactivate pins during the run (outside of combat/in empty rooms). Sometimes you get a pin that's terrible early on but could potentially be really good in the late game but since you don't want to harm your early game, you'd rather get rid of it entirely whereas it would be preferable to keep it for later. For example the pin with double damage but double EP - early enemies don't have enough HP to get value from it. Or the other way around, pins that are good early on but terrible later (instant charge, but no gold charge). Yes, you could replace it eventually but you could also get unlucky and not receive any pins, getting stuck with a pin that does more harm than good.

Overall it's a cool update and it was definitely fun to beat Arcade Mode for a change! It's also very cool that you can still do quests on the easiest difficulty, otherwise I'd probably never been able to finish the quest where you save Mesido :D
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Green Slime
I'm loving the content for the update so far! However, when me and my friend were playing multiplayer Arcade Mode, whenever the lady that introduces pins shows up, i was unable to talk with her and for the rest of the run was unable to gain pins (dunno if this is working as intended or not). Furthermore, when we returned to the town after beating it, he could see the Pin Lady as an NPC yet she is invisible for me.


Staff member
Booby Trap Curse still makes chickens spawn stuff when herding

It also kind of implies the chickens are sort of "defeated" which is a preposterous notion

For some reason I'm stuck with 1 candy cane that's supposedly for taming either Gifts or Presents,

Candy Canes are, as we all know, a type of candy native to Halloween, and is thus used to tame living pumpkins!

unable to gain pins

Thanks for the report!


So, I tested the new update. Are pins supposed to be working in multiplayer? Because they didn't. The second player (client) couldn't see the pin trader and cutscenes and also most pins didn't take effect for him (some server-side (?) pins like Ice Nova Arrows did work for both players). It's a miracle that the game didn't desync in a breaking way.

Also were shop prices always that high? The very first shop we visited had prices twice higher than our gold (1500 vs 700) and we could barely buy one thing at the end of the first floor. Although on later floors it wasn't that bad maybe (I wanted to put thinking emoji here, but forum doesn't have one and it removes regular emoji)

Anyways, great update! I played the game after a long break and managed to reach the final floor for the first time (and then we got totally wrecked by Cursed Priestess :chicken:)


It seems that the font of the pin's description is not suitable for glyph-heavy languages like Chinese. What's strange is that for unknown pins the font works well.



This is the Chinese translation project if it helps debugging.


  • Secrets of
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Staff member
Are pins supposed to be working in multiplayer?

Yes, but their unlocking was apparently bugged! It'll be fixed in today's patch (and should work after a reconnect I think)

New pin, who 'dis? Last page, original language:

It's the "gain power next floor" which has a special description in the Pin Menu, but I messed up its display!

It seems that the font of the pin's description is not suitable for glyph-heavy languages like Chinese. What's strange is that for unknown pins the font works well.

This should also be fixed in the next patch! (should get uploaded within an hour if all goes according to plan)


There still seems to be some text mistakes related to the floors. All the "Hello <location name>" achievements have incorrect descriptions now.


Well, I'm thoroughly enjoying the new arcade mode. The pins are a fun twist and I'm actually making progress with the difficulty reduction. The new pin-seller with the large forehead gives off happy mask salesman vibes to me, heh.

A few bugs: the already noted occurrence of the fireball fairy attacking dead bosses, as well as a crash: the game went non-responsive (but still faintly playing sound effects??) when I entered the flying fortress guardian chamber and quickly cast the barrier spell.

Other than that, and of course some minor quest inconsistencies from the shorter floors, lookin' good!