Cheat codes were once an ubiquitous video game feature, but these days they’re rarely included — and if they are, it’s usually as little more than a nostalgic wink to classic games. However, there’s a way to add helpful effects like invincibility mode to some games using Cheat Engine.
Cheat Engine is a third-party tool available on Windows and Mac (sorry, console players) that lets users adjust a game’s code to affect certain in-game parameters. For example, you could give yourself unlimited health in difficult games like Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice or Elden Ring, or add any item to your inventory in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. If you want, Cheat Engine can even make games harder by making enemies stronger or increasing how much damage your character takes.
Messing with a game’s code might sound intimidating (and dangerous), but you can simply download “cheat tables” made by other users, rather than tweak the code yourself. The options available will vary with the game you’re playing, but there’s a large and active Cheat Engine community, so chances are you’ll quickly find cheat tables and instructions for enabling them in whatever you’re playing. Of course, you’re also free to experiment with Cheat Engine on your own — just make sure you’re using it safely and legally.
Is Cheat Engine actually safe?
Cheat Engine is a simple, fun, and helpful tool, but there are some risks worth noting before downloading and using it yourself.
- Cheat Engine is known to sneak third-party adware during installation if you’re not paying attention. Only download the latest version of Cheat Engine from the official website, Github project page, or Patreon page, and opt-out of any “special offers” or additional install packages offered during installation. Similarly, only download cheat tables/scripts from trusted sources like the official Cheat Engine forums and the Cheat Engine subreddit.
- Only use Cheat Engine for offline single-player games — and if you want to be extra careful, only use it with your internet disconnected. Using Cheat Engine in online games will get you banned permanently. This rule applies to competitive games like Call of Duty and Fortnite; co-op games like Left 4 Dead; and even games with secondary online features like Elden Ring or Death Stranding.
- Back up your game files, save data, and any important files you modify while using Cheat Engine. In some cases, you may need to modify a game’s files for Cheat Engine to work, which could cause bugs or crashes if done improperly.
- Disable Cheat Engine and remove any modified save data or game files if you want to go back to playing online. Otherwise, you risk getting banned, even for some single-player games. This is especially true if you had to remove a game’s anti-cheat protections, which goes against a game’s End User Licence Agreement (EULA). The safest option is to delete the game, perform a clean reinstall, and play with a fresh, unmodded save file.
While it’s important to know these risks, Cheat Engine is (mostly) safe to use as long as you follow the tips outlined above.