The $3 Indie Roguelike You Didn’t Know You Needed

The Simplicity and Success of Vampire Survivors

JP Branski
3 min readApr 25, 2022

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There is something special about the joy of randomly coming across a game that immediately earns your affection, and that is something Vampire Survivors did for me. With minimal controls, straightforward mechanics, and an average round time of thirty minutes, it is a great pick up for both the most casual and hardcore gamers.

To give some background, Vampire Survivors is developed and created by poncle, being released into early access after roughly a year of development. Coming to Steam in December of 2021, the game took off in a few short months. At the time of writing this, the game on Steam was sitting a 98% positive rating with over 80,000 total reviews, an impressive accomplishment for any game!

My first impressions of the game came from watching Admiral Bahroo playing the game on Twitch, where I quickly went to check it out on Steam. From what I saw and the price being an extremely fair $3, it was a quick and easy buy for me. Outside of being a fan of roguelikes, what caught my interest was the graphics style of the game. While you may not need a 4k display to get the most out of the games graphics, the unit and weapon designs paired with the a light show of effects in the late game that would make the Fourth of July jealous, it brought back a satisfying feeling as if you were working your way up the leaderboards on an arcade game.

When you first open up the game, you are greeted with options to start a match, view unlocks, settings, and even buy powerups. You use gold earned during your runs to buy powerups to give you a nice boost when starting out runs, such as item rerolls, move speed, and armor! Each of the 20+ characters available to unlock and play as bring in some sort of different gameplay, be it their starting weapons, passive perks, and starting stats. If you want to start as a witch with some cats, a dog that spreads flowers the faster it moves, or even as death itself, the possibilities are there.

Check out this video to see how to unlock Mask of the Read Death

Weapons will become stronger and evolve when paired with the right passives, and the ability to claim six weapons and passive items a run, you can have a different experience almost every game. Now this doesn’t mean you have to go memorize how to work every last one, thankfully, as each weapon automatically and continuously goes off on its own. This makes it incredibly friendly to beginners who may be worried about getting overwhelmed with new mechanics.

The recent 0.5.1 patch was released on April 24th, and has upped the fun even more. In additional to some tweaks and bugfixes, poncle added six new achievements to the game, bringing it to 88 in total. These achievements bring in one new challenge stage called The Bone Zone, one playable dog character which mows down foes with healing flowers, more powerup ranks, and two new Arcanas, which are cards that are used to modify the game each run! The full patch notes for v0.5.1 can be read here.

With all that said, I believe the best way to check out any game is to check out gameplay and look at the game yourself! Check the link above for the Steam link, or look at Twitch’s Vampire Survivors game directory to see more gameplay and information.

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JP Branski

A developer and author who likes to write a little bit about everything. Passions include self-improvement, volunteering, and continued learning!