I started Vampire Survival and then quickly got up to get a bottle of water. I was gone for less than a minute and when I sat back down, I thought my screensaver kicked in.
With vast spaces baking under the midday sun and distant groans and moans on the soundtrack, the empty park shimmered and there was eerie music sounding vaguely like the wails of a short-winded techno beat.
A makeshift tombstone was outlined in the wasteland, and the steeple of it reached for the sunless sky. Hmm, what an average-looking game I thought. All that was missing was a zombie or two...
And with those words, they came. Zombies, bats, ghosts, mummies, and other strange-looking undead monsters swarming your position. You are in a life-or-death struggle to stay alive as you navigate through endless waves of enemies who want nothing more than your blood. Your only weapon is magic, quick reflexes, and an assortment of upgrades found in a treasure chest, but even that has its limitations, and if this wasn't enough, this was only the first few minutes of the game.
Survive the Night, or Join the Undead
After the10 minute mark, things really start to get chaotic. Monsters start to chase after you constantly, but part of the fun is how you try to avoid them. Moving around the various levels is a treat and you'll be using all your weapon upgrades to keep them at bay. At times, you'll need to make a suicidal zigzagging run through a swarm of skeletons hoping to make it out in one piece.
The graphics aren't going to make your jaw drop, but it gets the job done especially when you see hundreds of enemies and projectiles littering the screen. At times, you will think it would be almost impossible to survive such an onslaught, but believe me, when you have the right evolved weapons coupled with the right build, you'll be surviving until the end with no problem.
The simple but addictive role-playing system has something that will appeal to everyone who loves games as well as those looking for a more immersive experience than what typical twin-stick-shooters have to offer. Each character comes with its own strengths and passive abilities that you can enhance via the loot system. Upgrading your throwing knives, for example, with the base skill of bracers, will evolve it to an unstoppable attack. You can also experiment with the dozen or so variables until you find the right build that you like. Half the fun is in the experimentation.
Death Won't Be the Last Thing You See
Overall, I was very, very pleased with indie developer, Poncle, and what he has achieved with Vampire Survivors. And though I've played other games similar to it, I had never played anything quite like it. At first, I was intimidated, but the more I played, the more I discovered what the game was about and all fear left me in a huff.
The only true downside is that the game is capped at a certain time limit, so anyone thinking they can go on forever with the right build will be disappointed. However, even at the thirty-minute mark, you'll feel like you've been playing for hours, and at the price point of a small cup of coffee and a donut, Vampire Survivors is well worth the purchase.
Healthcare Professional, Gamer, and Writer all rolled up in one. He once opened up an old Atari 2600 to see if it had a heart ... and it did. Hence, the lifelong love affair with gaming.