Vampire Survivors proves simple games can be incredible


AS I wind down from a long day of work, I put on the game that I have been putting on frequently to relax, Vampire Survivors.

Available on Xbox Game Pass, I gave it a shot, despite not thinking that the basis of the game was really my thing.

Vampire Survivors appears surprisingly simple.

I didn’t get it at first. You walk around picking up items and that’s it.

The guns fire themselves, hordes of enemies come unrelentingly, and not much feels in your control.

Then a swarm of bats came across the screen, and burst into a puddle of experience as they came into contact with my garlic shield, and that’s when I got it.

It’s one of the most popular games in the genre known as ‘auto-survivors’.

You select a character, stage, change weapons and items, and that is almost the entirety of your input.

The game limits the number of weapons and abilities you can collect, and finding the right combination to take down your enemies is crucial.

It’s this level of strategy that makes the game so satisfying, and a run with bad drops, will encourage you to want to try your luck again.

There is no real ending. The foes never stop spawning, with more appearing every second, and they will never stop coming.

You will never be able to survive forever. Once you have the maximum number of weapons and abilities, the following levels only grant you more money or health.

The enemies don’t have this kind of ceiling and continuously get stronger as the game continues.

While you try to create a strong build as quickly as possible to outpace the enemy, in terms of the actual gameplay you are often encouraged not to move at all.

Upgrades can give your weapons larger range, or more damage. When you combine this with other skills, enemies will get taken down as soon as they approach you.

This means the best strategy can be to stay in place only moving when necessary to pick up experience or health.

The arcade-style of gameplay, along with the randomness of enemies and weapon drops, convinces you that your minute-long run could be a 30-minute epic next time.

You soon realise that the only true progress you’ve made, is the amount of time you’ve put into it.

While you can unlock achievements, weapons, items, characters and stages the more you play, even if you fail you continue to unlock more.

If you play Vampire Survivors, you progress in Vampire Survivors. It’s a game you’re guaranteed to win.

Aside from the unending unlocks, you’ll learn enemy patterns, get better luck, or buy all the upgrades needed.

It makes you feel accomplished, even if that accomplishment is inevitable. Most games are like this, but Vampire Survivors lays it bare.

Anyway, I’ll probably play it for another hour tonight.

Written by Dave Aubrey and Georgina Young on behalf of GLHF.