Vampire Survivors review

Our Review by Campbell Bird on December 13th, 2022
Rating: starstarstarstarstar :: SMALL SURVIVING
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This celebrated roguelite has made the jump to iOS completely unscathed and for free.

Developer: Poncle

Price: Free
Version: 1.1.105
App Reviewed on: iPhone SE

Graphics/Sound Rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Gameplay Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Replay Value Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Overall Rating: starstarstarstarstar

Celebrated action roguelite Vampire Survivors made a surprise jump to mobile where players can now mow down walls of enemies with automated weaponry right from their phone. This mobile version arrives as a completely free game and in an uncompromised state, making it a no-brainer to download immediately.

Slide to slay

I won't spend a ton of time going in depth on what Vampire Survivors as you can read that elsewhere, but a quick description is it's a wave-based survival game. You play as a character with weapons that they use automatically, and your job as the player is to move the character around to avoid enemies and pick up experience and other items to make them stronger.

On mobile, this makes things simple as you just tap and drag to move your character around the screen. If you desire the fidelity of a controller, those are also supported, though I tend to prefer playing the game in the convenient portrait mode and steer with my finger, allowing me to bust it out and play just about anywhere.

Time killer

Every level in Vampire Survivors is a time challenge that tops out at 30 minutes. You won't always make it that far in a run, but that time commitment is generally your goal. This is to say this is a game that can demand a lot of your attention for a decent chunk of time, unlike a lot of other phone games you can pop in an out of at your leisure.

You can pause the game or close the app to return to a run, but if Vampire Survivors has to close and reboot, no mid-run progress gets preserved. If this game clicks with you like it does with me, though, time melts away while you play it and you make time to fit in runs so this doesn't present any particular issue.

The power of mystery

The moment-to-moment action in Vampire Survivors is a big part of its initial draw, but if you look at screenshots or short clips and wonder if the ridiculousness of the action is enough to give it staying power, don't worry. This game has a lot more going on underneath the surface than it really tells you about.

Between unlockable characters, secret items, hidden combinations, and obfuscated mechanics, there's always some kind of goal to pursue beyond mere survival in a run of Vampire Survivors. I'm still trying to figure out a bunch of them myself and enjoying experimenting with new characters and weapon combinations all along the way.

The bottom line
Vampire Survivors is a power fantasy distilled down into an extremely potent form, but there's also more to it than that. On mobile it plays as well as can be expected, but also allows for traditional controller support if people just want another platform to be able to play this amazing game on, and for free no less!

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