Vampire Survivors: Just one more run I swear!

When I first saw Vampire Survivors, I didn’t think much of it I admit. Then a friend gifted me a copy, and the next thing I knew, I was hooked. For a budget $3 title this game is way too addictive, and it’s still in early access! More after the jump.


Genre: Addictive Quick Session Roguelite

Vampire Survivors is very much the definition of ‘pick up and play.’ You only use buttons for menu navigation, the entirety of gameplay outside of that is handled with a mouse, WASD, or a dpad/analog stick. All of the weapons you get fire automatically, and most also aim themselves too. At first this sounds like a turnoff, but honestly, you probably won’t care by the end of it.

Just you and 30 minutes’ worth of evil hordes. Sounds doable.

The premise of Vampire Survivors is pretty simple: Enter a stage and try to survive against its endless hordes for 30 minutes. During this time, most enemies you kill will drop crystals that provide EXP. Level up and you’ll get to pick from a pool of weapons and support items, being able to carry a combination of 6 weapons and 6 items. It’s basically creating a build on the fly, not unlike Nova Drift, but in this case you have to be more selective due to your limited slots. Everything you get via level ups can also be upgraded to be more effective as well, so you’ll have to figure out what to prioritize. 

As the timer advances, more difficult waves of stronger enemies and boss monsters will show up, all of which tend to have more health and deal more damage, so optimizing your build to avoid being overrun is a priority throughout the 30 minute sessions of this game, and the biggest optimization are Evolutions. Most (not all) weapons can be evolved when they hit their max level and you have a specific item in your item slots that evolves the weapon. Once these conditions are met, the treasure chests often dropped by bosses have a chance to evolve the weapon into a more powerful form. And even if they don’t, they’ll give you upgrades to items/weapons you already have, and some gold.

Treasure chests will be a welcome sight throughout your runs.

Gold is important because between runs, you can spend it on permanent upgrades to all your characters, and unlock new characters. Each character has their own starting weapon and typically another perk of some kind, such as more damage as they level up, additional projectiles, more area of effect, etc. This gives each character their own identity and can help change things up if you’re looking for something different on a new run.

There’s a decent amount of weapon variety too, which gives you plenty of options to work with. You’ve got your straightforward projectile weapons, like the Dagger, Magic Wand, and Fire Wand, as well as things that cover a larger area like the Holy Water, and everyone’s favorite, the Bible which orbits around you damaging anything it touches. The support items are equally varied, providing things like damage boosts, incoming damage reductions, life regen, movement speed, larger AOEs, faster projectiles…The point is you have a lot of potential tools to work with, making your choice of six weapons and six items that much more important when building for a run. At the end of the day, the fact these weapons are all automatically used means you get to focus entirely on your movement, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes you’ll find you have to squeeze through hordes to get to safety, and it can get quite intense to the point you’ll be glad you don’t have to worry about pressing any other buttons.

So why *IS* this game so addictive? Probably because of how simple yet fun it is. You basically get the ‘Go from basic to overpowered’ experience a lot of roguelites do, but it’s condensed into quick play sessions that are 30 minutes at most.  There’s just something about going from throwing single knives to unleashing enough magical firepower to destroy an entire army that never gets old. Plus there’s always the incentive to try and get a higher score, more gold to buy more upgrades, it’s just all a vicious, yet wonderful cycle.

Enemies admittedly are one area that lack variety. While visually there’s tons of them, they all tend to have the same behavior: Move towards you in swarms. Though admittedly Stage 3 has added new projectile based foes, so hopefully that means we’ll see more interesting things down the road.

With so many games that have complex systems to them these days, Vampire Survivors is a breath of fresh air in that you can learn it and play it very quickly, making it a wonderful time killer when you just want a quick play session that typically ends with you killing tens of thousands of monsters.

Plus, it’s cheap. REALLY cheap. Like, the price of a burger cheap. It’s kinda hard to say no to a game that has offered as much fun as this one has for so little money. Plus it’s going to probably seeing updates for awhile yet, so we’ve got plenty to look forward to. So go on, buy it! I’m sure you’ll know when to stop…

…Who am I kidding you’ll keep finding an excuse to do one more run.

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