Before we begin, have you ever seen something on Steam that looks so generic and dull that you simply skip past it with a huff, and look down on it like a king does to a pauper? Without actually playing Vampire Survivors, I’d never have tried it in a million years. The visuals do nothing to grab you from the trailer, and if it wasn’t for the thousands of positive reviews on Steam (despite the game still being in Early Access) and countless streamers playing on Twitch, it would have journeyed into the abyss without any fanfare whatsoever. The old adage, never judge a book by its cover, couldn’t be more accurate.
Don’t expect any kind of story or deeper meaning behind what’s going on. In terms of controls, all you need to do is move. There’s no attack or dodge button, no real commands other than to walk around the map, and the 8-bit art style and lack of depth at first glance should be enough to put anyone off. So how come I couldn’t stop playing? What makes it so good is the surprising amount of depth to this roguelike.
You’re thrown into a map that has little detail, other than a wave of critters that slowly start to move towards you. Attacks happen automatically, starting off with the swing of an axe or firing of a fire bolt. When enemies die, they drop blue gems, and when you collect them they build up your XP. Once you move up a level, a new item, ability, or buff becomes available for you to select. As you progress your level, your character can pull off multiple attacks at the same time, such as melee and ranged, utilising your starter weapon to do more damage or even evolve into a more powerful whip or sword.
You might fire bolts of magic onto the battlefield that does damage to multiple enemies at the same time, increase the speed at which a weapon or spell attacks, make it more powerful, or launch waves of blades in every direction. There’re tons of combinations to choose from, and honing your character becomes a lot of fun depending on how you choose to play. Of course, it would feel repetitive if enemies remained easy to defeat. What ends up occurring is new creatures will spawn, such as wraiths and zombies, until the entire screen is filled with hundreds upon hundreds of murderous creatures.
Its simplistic approach is what makes Vampire Survivors so addictive. After the 30 minutes are up, or death decides to take you too soon, you can spend any coins you received during a playthrough to buy new characters or unlock abilities to help during playthroughs. There’re tons of characters to unlock, each with a different style and starting weapon. They don’t really do much different, as most rely on the basic form of melee or ranged, however, it becomes almost an addiction to unlock them via in-game missions or with the gold.
Vampire Survivors is a basic yet addictive roguelike, with a surprising amount of depth in its mechanics. Taking on hordes of enemies does seem daunting at first, but when you’re unlocking new weapons and abilities to slay them all, it is when the game is at its best. I don’t really like to bring the cost into a review, but for just over £2, it makes it almost a crime not to try it out. It’s the perfect game to spend an hour or two on when you’re struggling to choose something, and will more than likely give you something to play when you’re in a funk.
So fun to play
Stripped back presentation
Lack of content