Vampire Survivors is a game I have such a difficult time putting into a genre. It feels like a reverse bullet hell where you are the one creating the bullets and everything else on screen needs to die. It’s also a 2D, pixelated, side scroller, rogue lite with mild RPG mechanics. I fucking hate to say it but these are all of the keywords I see in emails that completely deter me from wanting to play a handful of indie games. I can only read the same 5 different combinations of emails containing the words, 2D, side scrolling, pixel art, indie rogue like/lite, shoot em up, and retain any desire to play them. Vampire Survivors, however, is different and has me in a full rear naked choke every time a new update releases.
Vampire Survivors is all of the paragraph above, but also a simulated horde mode type of game with a few dozen unique playable characters, an array of weapons, accessories, weapon evolutions, maps and unlockables. You start out with your Trevor Belmont clone on the first map available to you and the only goal is to survive until 30 minutes. You run around kill bats with your whip, get a satisfying pachinko sound everytime you pick up exp gems from enemies and level up to get new weapons and accessories then repeat. If you’re like me you only get to 15 minutes the first few runs until you start unlocking new weapons or characters just for surviving, killing X amount of enemies, leveling up gear etc. You load in again and let the rogue lite nature randomize your drops, level and try to make it past 20, then 25 minutes until you can finally hit 30 minutes then die to the reaper. You can track your achievements and unlocks in specific tabs, then access new maps with new modes and a slew of new gear so the cycle continues until you end up like me getting so fucking fully addicted you log 40+ hours into one week to unlock literally everything including all of the secret hidden characters.
I find it so hard to explain, but the gameplay loop in Vampire Survivors is so violently addictive that I set aside a few hours in the morning of each new update JUST to unlock all of the new shit. I would love for someone to do some type of study on how games can add in casino like sounds and animations to how addictive they can be to gamers. Or even like some neurodivergent test for all the flashing lights and sounds as you open a chest or level up, like please somebody fucking explain to me why this game fully tantalizes all of my like weird audio visual needs in such a simple yet incredible game. Sorry if I made that too sexual for you but some of those pixels man…. woof. Anyway, Vampire Survivors is one hell of an indie game made by I believe only one person. There is new FREE content added all of the time and for the price of admission being 3$, (yes you read that right, less than your fucking Starbucks order) you too can get over 40 hours worth of sensory stimulation…I mean great addictive gameplay.
Vampire Survivors is an easy Must Buy for me. It’s 3$ on Steam and can provide dozens of hours of joy that also comes with frequent FREE updates. Although it might sound like it falls into the category of “so many indie games I don’t have the time or attention to play”, Vampire Survivors does a wonderful job of creating a satisfying gameplay and progression loop with an interesting 2D pixelated design with the icing on the cake being a fucking killer soundtrack. Buy this game!