When it comes to creating solid mobile titles, simplicity is key. Vampire Survivors, a game that mastered this on PC, brings its mayhem to the phone thanks to Poncle. Players get the chance to play as one of many kinds of vampire hunters in a world overrun with monsters. Each area you visit has different hordes to take on, but since your character attacks automatically, your main goal is to keep your hero alive and navigate safely through the waves. There's a lot to fight and discover, but that only matters if you manage to survive long enough.
Since this is a port of the PC game, the whole concept is kept mostly intact, meaning the story comes over with it. Vampire Survivors doesn't bog you down with too many details, but there is a basic plot. The armies of darkness have gone unchecked for too long and are starting to consume the world. At the head of the forces resisting them is the Belpaese family, a mix of warriors and magic users trained in fighting monsters. As they come together, they'll recruit other willing fighters to join their cause. You're always making your last stand, but who knows how long it will last?
There was never any guarantee in arcade games, but that's what made them so enticing. Vampire Survivors has a very similar feel. As soon as the game is up and running, you're literally several clicks away from being thrown to the wolves… which is exciting, to say the least. The maps are surprisingly large but quickly become swarmed with enemies prompting you to move strategically. You feel encouraged to last as long as you can just so that you can see what other monsters you’ll encounter alongside discovering what lies far across the map.
The game is also very empowering in terms of level-ups and upgrades. It paces itself well by starting with fast growth and rising steadily to a point where you're hoping the next level is just around the corner. There's also the sheer number of weapons and accessories to choose from to change your build. Each character has different stats and starting weapons, but you can make them each how you want based on what you choose to improve. Because of the limited choices per level up, seeking out chests becomes a worthy endeavour for the chance to get multiple upgrades at once, with some gold and pleasing fanfare to spare.
Whenever a game meant for PC moves to mobile, things need to change and this isn't always good news. Unfortunately, Vampire Survivors is suffering from these changes right out of the gate. The main negative is the game’s overall speed and responsiveness. Although it's not super demanding in terms of controls and HD visuals, its hordes literally flood your phone. The more enemy sprites appear on the screen, the more lag occurs and the less fun it becomes to play. This also highlights another issue in that the touch controls are not the most responsive. Since this is a game where being able to thread the needle through crowds of enemies is a necessity, unreliable controls easily become the main enemy.
Vampire Survivors is a 2D pixelated endless-wave game about guiding and upgrading a hero against overwhelming forces. It instantly throws you into the action without demanding too much of you, while still challenging you to make the most of every aspect with each boon feeling like a victory. The game still needs to work out some technical issues since moving to mobile; otherwise, it will just annoy players. Knowing this can help prep you to become a vampire survivor. Of course, if you're looking for shortcuts, you can always take a good look at our guide for Vampire Survivors.