Who needs casual games? I mean, the collective we, “the serious players”, the ones who only want to dip into 80+ hour hardcore games. We don’t need those! We are only about git gud or die, biatch! Our lives are all about fumbling with our controllers, remembering the best combos, checking out all the guides, and knowing by heart the most effective ways to defeat the hardest bosses in Elden Ring. But sometimes… you know, just sometimes, I want to kick back and not really do much while still playing a game. And that is why Vampire Survivors is the best casual game ever.
Vampire Survivors is probably the surprise indie hit of 2022, developed by an Italian programmer who moved to London and found himself working on online slot machines because no one apparently was interested in giving him a job in the gaming industry. During his free time, he started developing something very casual also inspired by his experience with online gambling, but fueled by his love for Castlevania and Italian memes. He wasn’t even planning on making money off of it, so much so that the first versions were released for free. But then, in 2022 Twitch discovered it and history was made.
All you do in Vampire Survivors is move your character around – kicking monsters’ asses is done automatically. Along with everything else, of course. Pick up stuff? Automatic. Level up? Well, you’ll have to choose which power you want to level up, but that’s all. It is the perfect game to unwind, just a quick 20-minute run with Poe Ratcho (which basically means “you poor guy” in Roman dialect), perhaps while taking a break from work, listening to some music or – of course – chatting with your Twitch viewers.
But, I hear you ask, is that actually all you do in the game? Move around the character, picking up stuff and waiting for monsters to die? That sounds like the most boring gameplay idea ever. And it does, to be honest, I also thought so. But the game operates on a perfect balance of risk and reward, where the more one manages to stay alive, the crazier everything gets. It really is that kind of game that just keeps you coming back again and again, especially when you think you’ve seen everything, you realize there’s quite a bit more that awaits you.
Still, the best thing is that it is not only about unwinding and kicking back because Vampire Survivors can get intense pretty fast. Levelling up means more and more enemies will come our way and, well, soon you’ll start encountering huge waves of monsters who want nothing more than to end your merry little walkabout. If you want to get serious in the game, there are definitely plenty of ways to do so.
There are dozens of secret characters to unlock, many evolutions of the weapons you can look forward to and have to plan accordingly in order to access, and levels which are just downright hardcore with no level-ups allowed. Also, are you looking to have your day ruined? Just try an ordinary level in Hyper mode and forget about the merry strolling and chatting, you’d better be focused and adopt a strategy or you won’t survive beyond a couple of minutes.
The endless replayability, the dumb Italian memes (which one would definitely need a guide to understand!), the perfect balance between challenge and relaxation, plus some seriously nice character sprites and art. While it may have originated as an ultracasual game for its developer to have something to play on weekends, since then Poncle has been working hard on Vampire Survivors, transforming it into one of the best casual games I have ever laid hands on.
So, I will gladly recommend you join the Vampire Survivors family, at barely 3€/$ there’s not even much to think about it, that price/gameplay ratio is unbelievable! But a word of warning: this game is addictive like white snow for a 70s heavy metal musician. Tread carefully, otherwise, you might find yourself in real life wondering why your Phiera Der Tufello is not working and your Pummarola has started to stink while out of the fridge for a week.