It’s been a minute since I’ve been hopelessly addicted to a game.
You know the kind. When you’re just mindlessly replaying levels without even thinking. When you don’t even stop to go make a cup of tea or grab something to eat. I physically couldn’t put down my pad until I had to.
I kind of hate it. I have a stack of games I want to finish. Stories I’m halfway through. Adventures seemingly put on lengthy pause. All because I just can’t stop playing Vampire Survivors.
I never thought I’d get here. Especially after first booting it up. I’d read nothing about the game, watched no videos, but people in my circles just kept talking about it. Then it came on Game Pass.
So my genuine first thoughts were ‘Where’s the trigger button? Am I pressing it, no that doesn’t seem right? Wait, what do you mean there isn’t one, what the hell is this?”
Vampire Survivors is, for the most part, a one button game. You just move around. Wander aimlessly. Circle. Strafe. Go vertically, horizontally. Wherever the hell you’d like, because it mostly doesn’t matter.
You’re about to get boxed in by waves and waves (and waves) of baddies. Bats. Werewolves. Sorcerors. Zombies. Skeletons. Mummies. You name it, they’re in here.
And the whole purpose is killing them again and again (and again), trying to survive. And at first load, you’ll wonder how that’s even possible. You can’t fire on cue, you shoot at awkward angles, enemies keep surrounding you and you’ll probably die quite miserably. It might even happen the first few times.
Fortunately, you can level up and expand your abilities gradually overtime. How you expand them will be key to how long you survive. Because runs can be as short as two minutes or last over half hour, depending on how into the flow you get and how strategically you’re playing.
I’ll break down some of the ways you can keep yourself in the fight. The first one, perhaps the most important, is garlic. This creates a permanent protective forcefield around you which repels enemies and means they can’t get in close to strike at you. Seek that out whenever you can.
Depending on which character you pick to begin with (and there’s even more to unlock later on) you also use various projectiles and weapons to fight with. Knives. Magical bolts. Fireblasts. Even bones. You can increase the power and potency of these, but equally increase their frequency and speed. Vital in clutch situations.
There’s lots of other things you can level up as well, like the level of damage you can take at any one time, health recharging, and even a screen encompassing blast which destroys everything – even experience points – you can see.
Killing an enemy drops a blue crystal which levels you up and sometimes you can encounter green and red ones which add double your experience and can help you level up much quicker. Which will be important because the longer the time goes, the tougher the enemies get and the more you’ll see.
It starts getting ludicrous, quite frankly. You’ll see at least 100 enemies on your screen at a time and despite moving, they’ll just keep coming and coming. There’s no escaping them. And there’s no real need to, because other than finding some rare tomes on the levels and occasionally moving to try and find some powerups to help you out, you just need to make sure you don’t die.
That’s why you’ll keep dipping in for another go and another. You’ll want to improve your score, you’ll want to progress to the next level or unlock a new character or permanently improve some of the attributes you already have.
It’s actually maddening and frankly once this is posted, I’m half tempted to uninstall the game. Not because I hate it, but because I can’t stop myself.
Vampire Survivors kind of leans into those clicker games you end up playing for longer than you expected, but there’s also substance here. There’s lots to unlock, there’s new levels to reach, lots of enemies to find, even bosses to beat, and it’s a game you’ll spend hours and hours (and probably hours) investing time into.
You can even evolve existing abilities to improve their potency and effectiveness, which means carefully strategising even further, working out how you invest your abilities. Don’t outright disregard luck either because you can get better loot from chests and even add additional options when you level up.
Basically, if you’re wondering whether it’s worth the ridiculously low price tag, it is. Very much so. And it’s made even more ridiculous by the fact it’s on Game Pass so you don’t have to pay at all.
There’s a reason Vampire Survivors is the game on everyone’s lips this year. It may not look as beautiful as a Cult of the Lamb, nor have the narrative twists and turns of God of War, but it is so unbelievably replayable – and irresistibly enjoyable – you’ll find it very difficult to put down.
Don’t do what I did. Wait until you have a clean slate, because those other games won’t be getting a look in anytime soon.
Vampire Survivors seems like the most basic game ever and at first glance you’ll wonder how anyone could have it on their Best of lists.
Five hours later, you’ll wonder if you’ll ever play another game again.
+Varied enemies and environments
+So much to unlock
+Lots of characters, all providing something different
+A gameplay hook that keeps you glued to the screen
+Seems set to receive long term support
– Some levels are just infuriatingly brutal
– You’re going to see so many bad clones off the back of this, thanks Poncle!
Vampire Survivors is out now on PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch
Played on Xbox Series X
Code Kindly Provided by Poncle
You must be logged in to post a comment.