Beyond Co-op Reviews: December 2022 - Page 3

Beyond Co-op Review: Vampire Survivors

Review by: Paul Acevedo

Vampire Survivors Xbox Series X

The Castlevania series might be sadly dormant nowadays, but its influence lives on. Coming from the mind of Luca Galante (Poncle) and his small development team, Vampire Survivors is a top-down Roguelike that bears more than a passing resemblance to Konami’s classic vampire-killing series. Set in the countryside of Italy, an evil vampire has unleashed an army of monsters against the local population. Only a family of vampire hunters and their allies can stop the menace – or die trying.

The game begins with precious little in the way of presentation; there is no introduction and no cinematics at present. Players will select Antonio Belpaese, the starting hero, followed by Mad Forest, the first unlocked stage, and then drop right into the action with absolutely no tutorial. Figuring the controls out doesn’t take long, though; no buttons are used during gameplay! The hero automatically attacks at regular intervals, so all players have to do is move around, exploring, dodging foes, and collecting items.

Vampire Survivors Xbox Series X

Despite the simple controls, the gameplay is just deep enough to be satisfying and addictive. Enemies drop experience crystals that allow the hero to level up. With each new level, the player gets to select from up to four randomized upgrades. These include mainstay Castlevania weapons like whips, axes, daggers, and holy water, plus many others that fit the game’s gothic world, as well as items that increase defense, experience gain, and more. Weapons and items can be further upgraded by finding duplicates, increasing rate of fire/activation, damage, area of effect, projectile count, etc.

As players grow in power during the run, so do the enemies. Tougher, deadlier monsters begin to show up while the hordes become ever more numerous. The overall goal during a run is to survive for 30 minutes, but it will take plenty of attempts to reach that point. Between runs, players can spend the gold found from breakable objects and treasure chests on permanent upgrades that will make future runs a little easier. There are lots of playable characters (all with unique starting weapons, perks, and stats) and numerous stages to unlock over time as well.

Vampire Survivors PowerUp Selection Xbox Series X

The best Roguelikes have fun gameplay, good randomization, and strong metagame elements that keep players coming back for more. That’s Vampire Survivors in a nutshell. The game’s production values aren’t exactly amazing, but it also costs only five bucks. Having already played Vampire Survivors for over eight hours on Xbox and Steam Deck (where it runs well but slows down a bit at higher levels), it strikes me as one of 2022’s best values in gaming. Now, how about a sequel with co-op?

Vampire Survivors costs $4.99 on Xbox and Steam. The Xbox version is currently available on Xbox Game Pass as well. The mobile version is free to play on Google Play and iTunes.

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5