Vampire Survivors - How did no one think of this before?

Maybe we’re fully into the age of less is more, I dunno, but this small, inexpensive game is quite fun.
You choose a character, each with different bonuses / starting weapon, and then just move around, trying not to get hit, and picking up upgrades until you die (you won’t survive much longer than 30 minutes).

Simple graphics, simple gameplay, I think the programmer has said they had like 1000 pounds in budget, loads of fun, trying to finish your build, cursing the RNG gods for not giving you what you want.

Still in early access, but what’s there is already a full game IMO, since it’s less than 3€.

If you like roguelikes, seeing numbers go higher and choosing stuff to improve your build, you should like this.

We’ve been talking about it here:

I have yet to revisit this after my single victory, but although there’s not much there yet I have high hopes for this tiny three dollar game.

Yeah, if you think of this as a microgame and just enjoy it for what it is in its current state, you can easily be entertained for a few hours.

I wanna do a six evolved weapons run in this after watching a YouTuber get halfway there and then just beef it against a midboss because he forgot to move for ten seconds straight lol

I’ve managed to get 2. Six sounds nuts

Pretty much need high luck (for extra picks from level ups) to help lock in the pool of six evolveable weapons + their associated six passive power ups. Then “just” survive till you start accruing level 8s and go hard on picking up mid boss chests.

Of course this works best by going very broad early on to reduce you low but constant chance of rolling a level up spread that contains nothing you need and forces you into an option that will break one of the evolutions (by excluding something you need from your pool).

But going broad tends to mean your DPS suffers as the midgame hordes really start piling up.

Worse yet, good defensive passives like the armor and the temporary invulnerability + great starter weapons like the garlic and the runetracer can’t be taken, as they’re not a part of any combos…

Think these guys are wishing they’d charged, like, 6 bucks for this instead of 3?

For folks just joining in, my attempt at a description of the game as it stands today.

This is a fairly simplistic survive-the-hordes rougelike with persistent upgrades and unlockables crafted with NES-esque sprite graphics and a mood that recalls early Castlevania titles. You control a character with a unique bonus that improves at major level milestones (and can unlock more characters later) and a starting weapon. As you move around the very simplistic infinite scrolling map – again, more unlockable later, plus harder versions when you beat a given map – that’s mostly randomized (with some minor “set” elements, like a hidden powerup “to the left” in one map), more and more enemies spawn from both sides and approach you. Their AI is mostly pretty simple: walk toward player, so you can kite the hordes fairly easily, though some are more sophisticated, like swift-moving trackers and sudden burst-hordes that can push other enemies into you.

As you kill foes, they drop XP gems that lay where they died and swirl onto your character if you step close enough. Collect enough and earn a level-up, which presents a Hades-esque randomized pool of weapons and passives to choose from. Each has multiple levels it can ascend to, accruing bonuses as it goes, and like Hades, you eventually construct a “pool” of items available to you out of the games overall full collection through the choices you make (can’t get every item to max level in a single run, basically). Every so often, a mid-boss appears; killing these high-HP units drops a chest that auto-upgrades one or more of your existing items and dumps a pile of gold on you (gold drops are otherwise mostly pretty stingy – semi-common 1 gold coins and rarer bags of 5 or 10). Occasionally, you’ll stumble across bonus single-use items, like a magnet that drags all nearby XP gems straight to you or a plate of food that heals you a bit. Touching a foe bleeds off some of your limited HP, but mercifully, the mobs aren’t very sturdy to start with.

As the timer progresses, the variety of enemies increase in health and sometimes abilities/habits, slowly rotating through a classic horror movie cast of zombies, ghosts, medusas, swamp men, etc.

The weapons all have different effects – straight firing knives vs. random-spawning enemy-piercing arrows vs. high-arcing axes with AOE – and the passives do things like increase projectiles fired (from ALL projectile-based weapons you have), increase movement speed, give you extra HP, etc. From a control standpoint, however, things are very simple – you only move, collecting gimgaws and googabs as they drop out of monsters and random pieces of the environment you wreck.

At the end of each run – whether by dying to the hordes or a hidden condition I won’t spoil here – you get to spend your gold unlocking new characters and permanent passive bonuses for future runs.

The devs say that in time, they plan to incorporate more characters, levels, and items, as well as new gameplay modes apart from the existing “survive the hordes” option (including some kind of story mode). The amount of content there now is absolutely amusing for a few hours at least and might be a nice way to while away a few minutes between other tasks, and the idea is that they’ll increase the price as they complete more facets of the game on the way to full release. Given that people are already uncovering cool combos and secrets (like the weapons evolutions I was talking up earlier in the thread), I suspect that as the pool of content grows, the capacity to discover ever more absurd and broken combos will provide a persistent source of delight.

It’s definitely blown up on Twitch and Youtube in the last week or two, which is awesome to see for a very small, modest dev team. Wishing them all the best in their neat, simple, but addictive little game.

If they had I almost certainly wouldn’t have picked it up on a whim.

Hoo, that’s a lot of words. In the other thread I called it an autobattler bullet hell where the enemies are the bullets (I think that one video where the thumbnail says you are the bullet is exactly wrong), and I stand by it!

The pics of this game remind me of Infested Planet.

Yes, I think someone said the same thing in the other thread (was it you?). It’s got a lot in common with twin stick horde games but here of course there is only the one stick. I mention bullet hells because you don’t just have to kill the enemies you have to figure out how to avoid them to get at the xp they leave lying around.

Thanks for posting this. $3 is an easy buy for me. I might have even paid $4! We did some family pass-the-controller this afternoon and had a good time. Some kind of local co-op would be really nice since the characters do a good enough job being visually distinct, but I’m sure we’ll never get it.

This game is excellent. Just stayed up til 2:30 playing it.

It has a big Tesla vs. Lovecraft vibe (except even simpler), and I was way addicted to that game.

They definitely understand the dopamine hit from opening treasure chests…especially when you hit a 5x one.

To answer the question from the title, somebody did think of this one before :) It’s apparently a clone of a mobile game from a few years ago, all the way down to the name. The mobile origins probably explain the control scheme being so incredibly limited, I think anyone doing this from scratch as a PC game would be too tempted to at least put in a dash or something.

Vampire Survivors is a few hours of fun, which is all one can ask for from a $3 game, but the sweet spot where you’re actually doing something interesting in a given run is pretty short. Especially the endgame is either “you’re dead” or “nothing can get close to you, and you’re just running around collecting loot that no longer does anything”.

Huh. I really disliked the mech mechanic in that game. I still regard Neon Chrome as their best

Oh yes, Neon Chrome has still to be topped.

As a single hand keyboard only game, Vampire Survivors holds the trophy though.

This is a decent start of a game but in quite a few areas there is a lot of both content and design work to be done.
30 minutes for a completed run is just too long in my opinion. There is too much dead time without any decisions, not helped by the spotty item balance, randomness and limited selection.

Vampire Survivors is worth the cheap price for an hour or two of fun and the potential of an even better future. Overall I think the similarly priced SNKRX provides a mechanically comparable but -much- better designed and paced experience though.

I agree with you that half an hour might be a bit too long. I’ve thought about firing it up a couple of times but stopped because I didn’t want to spend half an hour on it or didn’t have that much time. I saw some chatter about SNKRX before, and based on this I picked it up and played for about 10 minutes. One thing I will say is that with Vampire Survivors I understood everything immediately; with SNKRX things seem much less clear.