Vampire Survivors | game review
A real monster smash.
Game summary: There's no place where to hide, all you can do is try to survive a cursed night and get as much gold as possible for the next survivor, before Death inevitably puts an end to your struggles. (Xbox.com)
I have to admit that I'm generally not a fan of games that look like they belong back in the 16-Bit era with the Mega Drive and SNES, because I grew up during those times. What I mean by that is that I had no choice but to play games that looked like Vampire Survivors because that was all the technology at the time could really do, so I tend to avoid games like that in favour of better-looking titles.
So it must count for something when I say that, despite not looking at all like a game I'd enjoy, I absolutely loved my time with this game. To be fair, while the art style might remind me of long, long ago, there's no way the consoles back then could've handled so many enemies on screen at one time. Even 'bullet hell' games of the time might've felt busy compared to the standard title, but even they don't come anywhere close to this.
Which makes it even more remarkable that Vampire Survivors is incredibly easy to follow visually despite how much is going on, because you mainly have to concentrate on pretty much just your character, making sure they avoid enemies and their attacks while the auto-attacks deal the damage for you. You will still want to keep an eye out for health boosts, treasures and other items, but everything still remains clear.
Even when it comes to acquiring new skills, it's kept fairly simple each time you 'level up' with a choice of three new abilities each level (four if you have enough Luck) that will either give you a new power or make an existing one more powerful. These can be defensive, offensive or even simply increasing your maximum health, but the choices are simple enough that you can't really get lost here either.
Vampire Survivors has to be one of the most enjoyably simple games I've played in years and I would recommend it to anyone, although with one warning of sorts: while there are multiple characters to try and no two consecutive games play out the same due to the random choices of abilities the game gives you, it is still a very simple game that could wear out its welcome if you binge play it.
I played this on the Xbox Series S, but I would only play one or two games at a time to save it from wearing out its welcome. That's harder than it sounds, because this game really has that 'just one more go' feeling to it, but it also felt like somewhat of a waste of my console's capabilities and doing the same thing over and over again while I have a massive backlog wouldn't help either.
While I do still completely recommend playing Vampire Survivors, I think it's far better for the shorter sessions of handhold gaming, which is why I downloaded it for my phone! I don't think this is the kind of game - at least, for me - to sit in front of a console for any lengthy periods of time, but is something I'll play on my phone regularly going forwards.
Vampire Survivors isn't a complex game, but that's why it works so well. It doesn't set out to do much, but absolutely nails what it does set out to do, which is let you battle hundreds of enemies at once, gaining new powers and new abilities as you try and last as long as possible against the endless hordes coming your way. Still, a game perhaps best suited to a mobile device rather than a console or PC.