Since getting my hands on the Steam Deck a few months ago, I’ve been playing a lot on it. I’ve dabbled with a few games here and there but the one game I keep coming back to is Vampire Survivors. The game is still technically in Early Access and over these last few weeks, they’ve added additional content which just keeps bringing me back. I recently survived for a full 30 minutes, and it felt like a great time to give this game the early praise it deserves.
Vampire Survivors isn’t quite a Roguelike, but it shares many of the same concepts. You select a character, then proceed to fight off as many foes as you can before you are killed. As you wander the areas, you collect bluish gems to increase your character’s level and collect coins to later use for future unlocks. So, the more you play, the better you get.
The only thing you do as the player is to move your character around the environment. Your attacks are automatic. As additional characters are found and unlocked, they each have their own starting weapon and additional perk. So, while you may start the game only able to fight with the whip, you can unlock the old man who starts with garlic. These starting abilities make a difference.
The key to each run is strategizing the weapon/item rewards you pick as your character’s level increases. You’ll typically get to choose from one of three (but sometimes four) options. Some are weapons like Axes or Fire Wands, each doing a different sort of attack. Then you have an area of attack item like garlic and the King’s Bible which create a buffer for your character and do significant damage. You also have your stats upgrades like improved speed and defense that allow you to avoid enemies or withstand more attacks.
Vampire Survivors offers quite the Challenge
There really isn’t much of a story at the moment. I’ve just unlocked four stages it appears to be that there is at least one more I need to unlock. The developers have shared a roadmap of planned content, so there is still a lot more coming. As I mentioned in my intro paragraph, I’ve reached the 30-minute mark in a run, which I had thought was the “goal” for a stage.
I did die a few seconds after reaching that mark, with a red Grim Reaper coming onto the screen and instantly approaching and killing me. My early runs would only see me lasting about 10 minutes. The more I played and unlocked additional perks for my characters, the longer I survived. I typically can now survive between 20-30 minutes.
There are items I will almost instantly get and improve if given the chance. I love garlic, so if it’s available, I take it. I also love the Fire Wand. Then there are items like the clover which I never use. The heart, which helps to regain your health, doesn’t do enough, so I only take it if I absolutely have to. I think that’s why I’m enjoying the game so much. Even if I can’t get the items I want, I am still trying different combinations and seeing how far I can go before I die.
Can’t Wait For More
Vampire Survivors is still in Early Access. Their Steam page states the developers probably won’t go to Version 1.0 until later this year (Early Access began last December). As far as I can see, the game is a lot of fun, but I can see where they can add more.
With all the time spent playing, I can’t really pinpoint any specific problems I have with the game. I love the 8-bit era sprites. I’m not really paying too much attention to the music, but it is short, so be prepared to hear the same chiptune music over and over again. While a story mode could be fun, I don’t think it’s really necessary.
There is still a lot more that is already available that I have yet to unlock. Again, their current roadmap highlights a lot of content that’s in the game, but I just haven’t found or unlocked them. At over 16 hours played, I’m impressed at what I still can find and unlock.
Get this now as more clones start appearing
I’ve been hearing about Vampire Survivors for months before I decided to drop the $3 to get it. Yes, this game is only three dollars. I’ve gotten more than enough value from it. At the same time, be careful of the clones that already starting to appear on Steam and on Mobile. This is a pretty simple concept, and it’s only a matter of time before other developers create knock-off versions where they try to put their own spin on the concept.