Review : Vampire Survivors : The Opposite of Sucking

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I am a firm believer that if a game is on Game Pass then I don’t really need to review it. In most cases you can load it up, play it, and come out with your own opinion of said title. In this particular situation, though, I don’t care, you’re going to read me talking about Vampire Survivors for several minutes as you wait for the 400 MB file size to download. By the time you finish this review, you could have jumped into a game, died, and then gained enough understanding of the gameplay loop to do it again. So let’s waste no more time and get down to Poncle’s insanely popular game that is now just rising to the top of everyone’s GOTY list. Sorry, Elden Ring, there is another game filled with utter chaos on the list.

Vampire Survivors has finally hit Game Pass after launching on Steam and being in Early Access since 2021. Vampire Survivors has the most basic premise in terms of gameplay: you hit play, pick a character, and walk around a map while bats, skeletons, and old hags try to kill you. You do not hit a button to attack as actions occur automatically and your loadout determines how effective you are at killing literally everything around you. Each character offers a weapon and some feats designed to enhance their utility on the battlefield. You can also pick up gold and spend it on various upgrades so that you can kill things more efficiently. That is the game. There is nothing else to really write about here, unless Ains allows me to be completely unhinged with the rest of the review. I’ll give him a moment to interject here.

Okay. No response. Let’s continue.

You have no idea what you are looking at unless you played this game

For the sake of diving deeper, the gameplay loop revolves around you killing monsters, gaining levels, looting weapons and gear, and just watching the game play out. You will kill hordes of enemies till death himself pulls an Amazon and decides to take you out because he can’t stand competition. If you have ever played the old Windows title Skifree back in the day, you’ll re-experience the horror and deep-shelved PTSD caused by that snowman. That being said, you still get to walk out with a pat on the back and the equivalent of a thumbs up, similar to the emoji your dad passive-aggressively sends you when you finally take the garbage out.

Despite the game being called Vampire Survivors, there is no real indication on what these characters actually are. Some of them look like vampires, while others look like characters that auditioned for Richter Belmont but never got the callback. There is one character who is an old man who smells like garlic and is by far my favorite character in the game. This is because the more garlic enhancements you pick up the more powerful this old man becomes. I feel almost embarrassed for the onslaught of skeletons and lake monsters as they meet their demise by an elderly man who consumed way too many all you can eat Olive Garden breadsticks. He gets even more threatening when he can throw an array of knives, axes, and 8 unopened copies of the King James Bible. It’s essentially Pope Frances if he was moonlighting as a monster slayer, and that is why he is the best!

Getting these blue orbs is like popping bubble wrap

He isn’t the only character; the roster occasionally updates as you complete a slew of challenges, adding depth to the game. It is like walking into Disney, at first glance there doesn’t seem like much, but, before you know it, you’re eating a two-person meal by yourself and watching a dude make a glass Donald Duck for three hours.

The fun part of Vampire Survivors is the entire package and how it all works. There are no parts of this experience that I wish performed better because it is so cohesive in every aspect. There ought to be a long and stranded story that gives me player choice? No, I want to pick a character that can summon lightning without learning everything about their backstory, then just kill hordes of enemies. Is there a story? Most likely, as there are little bits of information that get passed to you as you venture through some huge maps looking for caskets. I also probably missed some narrative reading, but none of that is really important to the experience of slaying monsters and cheating death.

Also, the soundtrack to the game rocks so hard and it doesn’t need to. This is equal to Phil Collins working on Tarzan; he didn’t need to go that heavy into it all with an explosive passion, yet he aimed to deliver audible perfection to those who were willing to shell out money to see a cartoon man in a loincloth. Even better is the little blipping sound when you pick up your experience points gems. It is so satisfying, like popping a giant sheet of bubble wrap and telling people you are too busy to do anything else.

I have nothing else to say about Vampire Survivors aside that it is currently on Game Pass and on Steam for $5. I know we all love to talk about how Game Pass is the best deal in gaming, but Vampire Survivors is absolutely worth every penny. I’ll just say this. If you shelled out the money for Twitter Blue and not this, then we should hang out real soon. I just want to talk.

Final Verdict: 9.5

Fun Factor: 10
Technical Prowess: 7
Time Investment: 12+ Hours
Replayability: 10

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By Steve Esposito

Steve Esposito is a dedicated content creator with a focus on his love for technology, video games, and the very industry that oversees it all. He also takes part in organizing the Long Island Retro and Tabletop Gaming Expo as well as a Dungeons and Dragons podcast: Copper Piece. You can find him on twitter @AgitatedStove


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