Genre(s): Roguelike, Auto, Enemy-Hell
Platform: Nintendo Switch (Also available on Android, PC, xBox)
Age Rating: PEGI 12
Release Date: 17/08/2023
A code was provided for review purposes
A Digital Delight
I had seen a few videos and heard rumblings about this game when it was released on the PC. The world went a little mad for it, and to be fair, I now can see why. I was not, however, ready for how addictive this little gem could be. How can a game with no buttons, just using a thumbstick, be so bloody moreish. Welcome to the Rapid Reviews Vampire Survivors Nintendo Switch review.
So, Vampire Survivors, then, it just lobs you straight in—no story, no cutscenes, and you’re into the meat of the action. Don’t get me wrong, I love that, no faff, no nonsense, just straight-up gameplay. Some players, however, may find it a bit jarring or too immediate. I, however, really appreciate how Vampire Survivors, like the best games of this ilk, trims off all the fat and nonsense and lets you jump straight in. Lovely jubbly.
How would I describe Vampire Survivors? Well, I would call it an Auto-Enemy-hell-roguelike. It’s auto in the fact that your character attacks of its own accord. It’s enemy-hell (like bullet-hell) due to the screen, at times, being flooded with enemies. It is definitely a roguelike because you almost entirely reset each run. It’s a strange genre-bending game, to be fair, but boy, does it shine!
You start with a meagre set of characters with slightly different weapons and stats, and over the course of many, many runs, unlock various things tied to the game, many, many achievements. You will unlock new features like a map or new characters, and in true roguelike fashion, you will keep expanding your roster of weapons, items and buffs to make each run unique. Not only that, but the gold you earn can be used to improve your base stats, meaning that even with a poor run, you should be slightly more powerful in your next attempt. All these cogs, systems and unlockables really make Vampire Survivors rewarding and addictive. You’re always getting better and, more often than not, playing with new toys.
Upgrades, Toys and Epic Weaponry
The way Vampire Survivors works is that you move your chosen character around a map and face off swarms and swarms of foes. All you do is move, though, as your character will fire off their chosen weapon at set intervals. All you have to do is be in the right place and avoid taking damage. Sounds boring, right? Well, it does, but it certainly is not. As you kill off enemies, they drop XP. Collect enough of this XP, and you will level up and get a choice of new upgrades to play with.
You have slots for six unique weapons and six unique items that all combine together and turn your character into a killing machine of epic proportions. If you choose an item or weapon you already have, then it upgrades, getting more powerful or even evolving. Each time you level up, you get a lovely little decision about how to build your character, and it’s amazing every single time. If you want more power, go for it, more defence; it is yours. Your character is yours to meld to your liking, and sometimes, just sometimes, you create a screen-wiping weapon of enemy destruction. It’s beautiful.
By the Skin of Your Teeth!
What I really enjoy about this game, though, is the tug-of-war between yourself and the waves of enemies. Unless you have a ‘broken’ run, you always seem to be on the precipice and on the verge of failure at all times. It’s so intense; just slipping through a small gap or just managing to weave a path through a massive group of enemies is so, so rewarding. Add into this bosses, treasure chests, and so many unlockables, and you have a joyful, entertaining little package that’s perfect on the Nintendo Switch.
Graphically and to be honest, on the presentation side as a whole, Vampire Survivors conjures up feelings of a PC game from the 90s, and that is not a dig; I like it. It feels homely, warm and ‘classic.’ No frills, no flashy nonsense, just classic old-school vibes, and I am here for that. The pixel art and classic-sounding, uplifting music really do go hand-in-hand with the paired-down gameplay style. The whole package feels direct, it feels focused, and I applaud the designers for that. No bloat, just a hell-load of immediate fun.
On the performance front, even though this game is very basic graphically, the Switch had no issues handling a gazillion enemies and projectiles on screen at once. No slow-down, zero stuttering and not a single bug to report. Well done all!
The best £3.99 you could Spend on the Eshop
Yes, perhaps the time has passed for Vampire Survivors, but I had a real blast playing. In fact, I have not unlocked everything yet, so I will be taking it to Tenerife with me next week. I love the pick-up-and-play aspect of having it on the Nintendo Switch, and with the new couch co-op feature, I think the Switch version may be the best all-around package. It’s quick, it’s so addictive and quite cheap. You will probably know if you like this sort of thing already, and I cannot recommend it enough. Right, I’m off to lay down swathes of the undead, laters gamers.
Rapid Reviews Rating
4.5 out of 5
If you want to buy Vampire Survivors on the Nintendo eShop, you can here.
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.