Vampire Survivors Early Access Review


If you’re a PC gamer or a regular Twitch user, there’s at least a good chance you’ve heard of it Vampire Survivor in the meantime. Over the past few weeks, the early access indie game has enjoyed a steady surge in popularity thanks to various Twitch streamers, its simple gameplay, and its tiny $3 price tag. After hearing about the game from a few friends and seeing a few of my favorite Twitch streamers play it, I took the title on Friday and promptly lost large chunks of my weekend to this surprisingly addictive game.


note: This review is based on an Early Access build of Vampire Survivors dated February 1st, 2022. If you’re reading this long after that date, there’s a good chance the game has undergone significant changes that make this review either partially or completely irrelevant can do . The author personally purchased Vampire Survivors for this review.

It’s funny because Vampire Survivor has all the makings of a game that you would skip browsing through Steam. It has simple graphics and a low price, which together basically scream “low-budget shovels”. It’s a great example of the old adage “never judge a book by its cover” because it would be a grave mistake to skip it Vampire Survivor based on the screenshots and the price.

I won’t pretend Vampire Survivor is the best game ever, but it’s a lot of fun. As the trailer suggests, Vampire Survivor has roots in the bullet hell genre but reverses the dynamics. Instead of being the ones dodging a screen full of bullets, players have to clear screens full of enemies that are slowly attacking them from all angles.

As you destroy enemies, you’ll level up and be able to choose new auto-shooting weapons or attachments that improve certain metrics like damage or movement speed, although you can also improve the weapons and items you already have. Eventually, you’ll fire off six different super-powered weapons and eliminate hundreds of enemies at once.

As all of this is playing out, simply move across the field to collect items that fall from light sources (a callback to Castlevania, along with many of the weapons) and witness gems being dropped by enemies. Accessories passively increase your stats, and every weapon in the game will auto-trigger on a set cooldown. You can move around with the mouse or WASD keys, but that’s all you have to do. In that sense, it’s a casual game – anyone can play it and it doesn’t take long to learn.

However, there is some depth when it comes to characters and builds. Vampire Survivor lets you play as a variety of characters, most of which you have to unlock throughout the game. Each character also has a specific perk. For example, one might increase the size of the area of ​​effect, while another would get an additional projectile as a base bonus, letting you determine what weapons and attachments you want to hunt based on the character you’re playing. At least that’s how it would work in an ideal world, but each time you level up you have to choose from a random list of upgrades, and sometimes you don’t get the upgrades you want.


In view of this and although Vampire Survivor is a simple game, you have to think if you want to complete runs successfully. As you play, you’ll earn gold, which you can spend between rounds on either new characters or upgrades that apply to each character and persist between runs. That’s where Vampire Survivor‘ Roguelike roots show up gradually, as you always feel like you’re working towards something even when you don’t seem to be getting a good run.

Like any casual game that has garnered widespread acclaim – be it flutterbird, Candy Crush, Between usor Wordl in some ways – Vampire Survivor successful because it’s easy to understand and learn, but not necessarily easy to win. Even if all you have to do is move and determine your physique when ascending, Vampire Survivor is not an easy game. If you want to complete a stage, you have to last a full 30 minutes, which of course gets harder the deeper you get into a run. In the end, enemies will completely fill the screen and surround you, so you can only hope your build can deal enough damage to protect you.


I do not expect Vampire Survivor will be a tedious game for most people. Instead, I think most people will get full after about 15 hours of gameplay. Of course, if you’re determined to unlock every achievement, buy every upgrade, or beat the game with every character, you’ll play a little longer, but for most people this will be a breezy affair. Vampire Survivor will take up all your free time for a few days, but then you’ll probably give it up and move on to the next thing.

Since it costs 3€, that’s totally fine with me. I already feel that I’m nearing the end of my time with the game – I only have two more achievements to unlock and that will be enough to continue – but I’ll be back for sure. Poncle, the game’s developer, says the title should be in Early Access for about a year and that there’s a lot more content on the way to release. In the full version we should expect “more characters, stages, weapons and RPG elements as well as new main functions like the story mode and arcanas”.

This definitely got me excited and I can’t wait to see how Vampire Survivor develops over the next year. Poncle also says the price goes up as more content is added, so I suggest going in on the ground floor and picking it up now for $3 as the content that’s already there more than justifies the price. I’m not usually one to recommend Early Access games – especially those that are closer to the beginning of their Early Access journey than to the end – but for $3, Vampire Survivor is outright theft.


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