Vampire Survivors Switch review

by on August 16, 2023
Release Date

August 17, 2023


It doesn’t happen often, but sometimes a game comes along that is so compelling that it actively makes my life more difficult. As of right now, Vampire Survivors is that game. I managed to avoid this retro inspired wave-based survival sensation up until it became available on the Nintendo Switch, despite how much attention it got last year from critics and gamers alike. Now I have a monkey on my back, and any time there are chores to be done or reviews to write a little voice suggests one little run of Vampire Survivors. That couldn’t hurt could it? Just one run?

If you too have somehow avoided playing Vampire Survivors for this long, here’s how the game works. After choosing your character and stage you’re dropped into a gothic world where thousands of enemies will slowly move towards you and attempt to ruin your day. The aim of the game is to survive for thirty minutes, by weaving in and out of the enemies and taking them down with an array of weapons you gather along the way. It sounds so simple and uninspired, but Vampire Survivors has a few tricks up its cloak.

The first of these you’ll notice is how the weapons work. You don’t aim or press a button to unleash these fairly familiar demon slaying tools, they fire automatically. Your character might begin with a whip that attacks to the side every few seconds, then before you know it you’ll have gathered a book that spins around you to damage enemies or a dagger that launches in the direction you’re moving. Positioning yourself so that these constantly firing weapons take down some enemies is key, not only to your survival but to your ability to level up.

A screenshot of Vampire Survivors

Once you’ve collected enough little orbs from the ground you’ll gain a level, and will be given a selection of weapons and upgrades to choose from to aid you on your run. Levelling up your axe or dagger might mean you throw an additional one of these projectiles or that they pass through more enemies, but there are also passive buffs like gaining more experience or attracting collectables from a distance that might tempt you too. It’ll take a few unsuccessful attempts to find the weapon and item combinations that work for you, but eventually you’ll get closer to that time limit while killing a ridiculous amount of skeletons along the way.

Most of the enemies in Vampire Survivors are fairly nondescript, shuffling towards you until you take them down without much in the way of attacks to worry about. Boss enemies aren’t too much different, but are well worth focusing on because when they die they drop a chest. These handy wooden boxes contain a free upgrade, or if you’re lucky (or have made your own luck by upgrading that particular stat) more than one. Most importantly chests are the only way to evolve your weapons into their final forms, which turn them into possibly the most satisfying weapons I’ve ever used in a video game.

By collecting the right combination of weapon and item, you’ll be able to transform your favourite axe or bottle of holy water into a screen filling tool of destruction that makes you almost unstoppable. If you’re able to collect enough of these uber weapons on a single run of Vampire Survivors you’ll feel like a survival god, and unless you’re particularly reckless it’s fairly unlikely you’ll die before the time runs out. How quickly Vampire Survivors changes from a tense game of survival to a spectacular power fantasy is absolutely wild, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

A screenshot of Vampire Survivors

Between runs there’s plenty to unlock to make this effortlessly compelling game even more so. Any gold you earn can be used to unlock new characters with different starting weapons and stats, or be spent on permanent stat upgrades for all your characters going forwards. If you’re worried about making the game too easy all these upgrades can be turned off at the push of a button, but honestly with all the extra hard hyper stages you’ll unlock you probably won’t want to.

There are also new weapons and characters that are unlockable by completing certain achievements, like levelling up a certain weapon to a specific point or surviving for enough time as a certain character. There’s always something to be aiming for while playing Vampire Survivors, and every time you unlock something new you’ll have the excitement of testing out its power against the hordes of undead and demons that want to shuffle you to death.

The more you play Vampire Survivors, the more interesting systems reveal themselves to you. Collectable Relics unlock new mechanics like the ability to make a run last half the time but grant bonus experience, or cards that modify certain weapons to be even more powerful for a particular run. With so many mechanics and characters to explore, you could feasibly play this game for the rest of your life and still be grinning on your deathbed.

A screenshot of Vampire Survivors

The amount of content contained in this budget priced package is frankly staggering, and if you’re joining the Vampire Survivors train late like me then you get the bonus of all the extra content updates that have been added since launch. The DLC is available at launch too, which for a little extra change will upgrade your Vampire Surviving even more.

Playing on Switch is a great way to experience Vampire Survivors, especially if you don’t have a handheld PC. This is the perfect portable game, and the Switch version of the game has all the bells and whistles of other versions as well as touch screen support for those who prefer to play that way.

The one downside to jumping into Vampire Survivors on Switch (besides being incredibly late to this awesome party) is one of performance. The framerate does start to struggle when things get particularly hectic in the late game, and some people won’t appreciate that, especially if they played on another console first. I personally didn’t find it to be much of an issue at all though, and if anything thought the slow down made those tenser and more oppressive moments feel even more epic.

Vampire Survivors is one of the most compelling games I’ve ever played, with expertly crafted systems that ensure the simple gameplay never gets old. The Switch is a great place to experience this sensational survival game, and for less than the price of a fancy coffee you too can fight waves of monsters when you should be working or doing the washing up.


Ridiculously compelling gameplay
The auto firing weapons are simply inspired
So much to unlock
Goes from tense survival to power fantasy at the drop of a hat


Some small framerate issues on Switch

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

Vampire Survivors is a game that I could happily play every day for the rest of my life, and now I can do that on the Nintendo Switch.