Vampire Survivors is one of three action roguelikes I picked up for a couple of quid each about 2 weeks ago. Alongside Brotato, it has easily stood the initial excitement and fun of unlocking a plethora of characters and weapons by focusing in on one specific trait that can make an average game feel great to play. That trait is satisfaction, and more precisely its the satisfaction of feeling all powerful smashing away a hundred enemies every second. It’s something the Dynasty Warriors series understood well and Vampire Survivors does too.
This game is a top down action roguelike where your attacks and weapons trigger automatically. Some of them like fire, whips and knifes require you to be facing in the direction you want them to be shot but largely your main focus is on avoidance. Movement is key for two reasons. Firstly, you’ll need to collect gems and treasures to for XP and upgrades. Secondly, Vampire Survivors has no issue throwing a hundred enemies on screen at once for you to avoid. It’s like a hoard at times and especially towards the end of a run you’ll be blocking advancements from all angles. Runs typically last 30 minutes if you can survive them and survival is all down to your upgrade choices.
As you level up from collecting gems you’ll be able to equip up to 6 standard weapons and 6 passive buffs. There are loads to choose from and the more you play and invest in certain weapons, they’ll unlock variants to be added to the mix. Each time you level up you’ll get three upgrades to randomly choose one from and you’ll need to think carefully. Some weapons are ranged, elemental, melee or a combination. Some weapons when combined with buffs like extra projectiles, attack speed, XP boosts and so on can then create ultimate versions of a weapon. For instance my go to was the lightning ring with the duplicator. Suddenly you have a lightning storm charging across the screen wiping out groups of enemies with ease. Knives become swords for example or weapons can become extra bouncy off of walls. Experimentation and playing around with loadouts unlocks quite a lot of interesting results and there in lies the fix. What haven’t you seen yet? Are all loadouts equal? Can you change the difficulty and still survive?
The core gameplay loop never changes though. Despite all the characters, weapons, overarching stat upgrades and achievements, you’ll be playing avoidance throughout. Yet it doesn’t get nearly as old as you’d think it would and this is because its so satisfying. Seeing your character quickly move from a single basic attack to an absolute beast vaporising waves of enemies at the drop of hat makes the player feel powerful. As you’ve got so many options to achieve this too, you still feel involved.
That being said, there are sometimes where you’ll be mega powerful for the last 5 – 10 minutes of run as its gone so well and then because of enemy spawning in an awkward way you’ll die immediately with 10 seconds to go right at the end of a run. That’s annoying and it does feel a little lopsided at times specifically around the 20 minute mark in most runs where you are either too powerful or not powerful enough. These are the minor niggles I have that Brotato doesn’t currently have for me and that’s why Brotato gets the edge. It’s slightly more difficult although Vampire Survivors has more level variation and pizzazz to it. Both are very worthy of your time though and if you enjoy one, you’ll likely enjoy the other. Vampire Survivors has a good gothic soundtrack too.
If you fancy feeling totally overpowered and killing 10,000 enemies in 30 minutes – this will be your jam. Who thought a 2D Dynasty Warriors styled OP bonanza would work so well in the action roguelike genre?!
Pure satisfaction from mowing down hundreds of enemies.
Tons of things to unlock over time to improve or synergise your loadouts
The game can keep up with the amount of things moving on the screen at once.
Addictive, short bursts of roguelike joy.
Sometimes you can be totally powerful until the final 30 seconds of a run and get overwhelmed and that's pretty annoying.
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