There are few things as addicting as power fantasy, and indie roguelite Vampire Survivors is as power fantasy as it gets. A cerebral bore of lights and sounds, Poncle’s PC mega-hit has now made its way to mobile, and it’s going to take over my life.
Stealth-dropped in the middle of The Game Awards, Vampire Survivors Mobile is a full port of the PC and console version to Android and iOS. Available for free, the addicting time survival RPG pays for itself via optional ads that you never — not once — have to engage with. It’s playable with one finger touch controls or with a controller in portrait or landscape modes, and it’s incredible.
I’ve played Vampire Survivors only once before. As my closest friend gave me the controller, I simply walked through the game’s initial map using a late-game character, murdering everything in sight. To be honest, I didn’t see the appeal, but with its free launch on mobile — and an iPhone controller to review anyways — I decided to jump in.
The initial runs of Vampire Survivors are not particularly engaging. You start as Antonio, a Castlevania-style shredded muscle man armed with a Belmont-esque whip that slays vampires, demons and all manner of undeads. The round starts out slow as bats approach you at a crawl, every second-or-so your whip arcs, taking out one of the blighters. Occasionally, one will drop experience.
Over time, you’ll gain enough experience to level up. This gives you a selection of weapons or equipment to choose, attaching throwing axes or beams of light to your survivor, or augmenting your current selection with more area of effect, more damage or less cooldown. You start off weak, but you end as a God.
Armies of undead race towards you only to be cut through like butter in blazing summer heat. Zombies, ghosts, werewolves, succubi and more crawl from the depths of Hell to kill you, and you’ll fight them all. Well, at least until the Reaper comes for you.
Eventually, you’ll even unlock new characters and arenas as you beat horde-upon-horde and discover each level’s secrets. For example, each level hides a coffin that is surrounded by an army of brutal beasties. Clearing that army allows you to open the coffin, claiming a powerful character to unlock after the match.
There’s something about Vampire Survivors’ simplistic gameplay that makes it almost impossible to put down. Not at the start, no, but an hour-or-so in and you’ll feel that itch to keep going, keep exploring and keep unlocking new hidden weapons, characters and special stages.
While I’m sitting here writing, I just want to play Vampire Survivors, and its mobile port is dangerously addictive. Always in my pocket, in the palm of my hand, the voice in my head is constantly telling me to pick up my iPhone and open up the utterly addictive mobile game.
Not only is this a perfect port of the game to mobile, but it’s instant accessibility makes it almost impossible to ignore. As someone with a highly addictive personality, there is a chance Vampire Survivors will completely take over. Should I let it?
I have yet to explore everything this game has to offer, but I’m already craving more. In fact, I think I need more.