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Vampire Survivors Guide: Beginner’s Tips and Tricks

Vampire Survivors is a new indie game on Steam that is currently taking Twitch and YouTube by storm. Decorated with graphics reminiscent of the Castlevania games, lots of people are getting sucked into the task of dispatching hordes of monsters coming at you from every angle. Keeping out hordes of monsters can sound pretty daunting, especially for new players. So what can you do to boost your strength? Is there any way to win against these creatures? Keep reading to find out more about what you can do to improve your skill in this Vampire Survivors guide.

 

What Is Vampire Survivors?

What Type of Game is it?

Vampire Survivors
Photo from Steam

 

The game is classified as an indie rogue-lite where players will have to survive for thirty minutes using random weapons the game will offer. Simplistic mechanics and a seemingly neverending stream of enemies are what drew most players to the game. Many beginners may get quite shocked that the only you can actually do in the game is move and select which weapon or upgrade you would like to have. Attacking with your chosen set of weapons and picking items up are all done automatically.

What makes the game more challenging as well as the myriad of items and combinations you can do along with which characters you want to use your items with. That said, experimenting with different items and builds are fun in the game, so beginners are advised to learn as much as they can about which item and weapon do what and go from there.

Check it out on Steam

 

Alpha Version

The game is already available on Steam and is already very popular among streamers and content creators alike despite being in its Alpha version. This means that what the game currently offers is not the complete package and the developer is diligent in adding more and more content to the game. Additionally, many patches and improvements are also constantly being made to the game, even in its infancy.

The Alpha version of the game that was available to the public features the following:

  • 7 characters
  • 22 weapons and 12 powerups
  • 10 pick-ups
  • 23 achievements
  • 1 stage
  • Supports mouse, keyboard, controller, and touch screens

 

As of today the current version of Vampire Survivors available on Steam is v0.3.2c, so new players can expect much more content, characters, and weapons to play with than the ones listed above.

 

Early Access and Updates

The recent patches introduced a few new characters with their own weapons for players to enjoy. It also included a few maps to explore as well as new power-ups for players to experiment and tinker with. The patch also continues to add balance modifications to help the game run smoother for a much more visually appealing and competitive gameplay.

With more and more tweaks and patches to be excited about, the future is looking bright for Vampire Survivors. The developer, Poncle, says that more content is being worked on and is excited to give the players and supporters more content to play around with. They also say the current engine is going to be changed so players can expect the next updates to be more focused on ensuring that the experience of the game is as smooth as possible.

 

Beginner’s Guide to Vampire Survivors

 

In a game like Vampire Survivors, new players may be tempted to maximize what they can do with what little agency they have. Since all you can actually do in the game is walk around and pick stuff up, beginners may tend to run into mobs trying to make the most of what they achieve.

This isn’t the most ideal thing to do if you want to last thirty minutes without getting surrounded by monsters. In reality, the game rewards players who know how to bide their time and plan ahead. Here are some tips and tricks you can keep in mind as a guide in Vampire Survivors.

 

Strategies

The goal of Vampire Survivors is to survive through hordes of monsters coming at you for 30 minutes. Going in blindly is not ideal but also the quickest way to learn just how difficult the enemies can get the longer the game goes on.

Here are some strategies you can remember as a new player if you need a guide about Vampire Survivors.

 

Abuse AoE Weapons

Time and time again, hordes of monsters and enemies have been mentioned to try and kill the player, but what does that actually mean? There really isn’t a viable explanation or description to visualize what happens, but you can think of it like a swarm of insects coming to get your avatar. These monsters pile on top of each other, and if the player cannot dispatch the monsters quick enough, they will eventually kill off the character.

Since these monsters march in clumps in the direction of the player, it is highly advised to pick up and choose items with great AoE (area of effect). This allows the player to deftly manage and thin the hordes of monsters with ease and minimal effort. Having a number of AoE weapons in your arsenal is a great way to improve your survivability in the game.

 

Know Your Weapons and Weapon Evolutions

 

New players will have to familiarize themselves with the various weapons and their respective evolutions in order to excel in Vampire Survivors. It is imperative to remember what weapon does what and which it pairs with to achieve an evolved form. Having said this, it is also important what the supporting or passive items do and which weapon they pair with. Keep in mind that the supporting item that works best with a weapon may not necessarily be the item that allows the weapon to evolve.

When talking about weapon evolutions, players will have to know about treasure chests and the role they have in attempting to get an evolved weapon. Here is a general guide on how to evolve weapons in Vampire Survivors. First, you can only evolve a weapon when the following conditions are met:

  • The weapon must be maxed out (level 8)
  • The weapon must have its pair item in the player’s inventory
  • 10 minutes have elapsed in the run
  • The player must obtain a treasure chest

 

Once these conditions have been met, the next item you may receive in a treasure chest might be an evolved weapon that will help you slaughter more enemies. Keep in mind that treasure chests only upgrade and evolve items and weapons you already have in your inventory and will not offer you new items once you have maxed everything out.

 

Kill Light Sources

Players will often see campfires, lampposts, and even magical pyramids depending on the level that is currently in play. It is in the best interest of any player, new or old, to make sure to destroy as many of these light sources as possible because these sources drop items and gold, which is highly beneficial in the run.

This mechanic comes with a caveat, however. The type of items that may be readily available to the player is highly dependent on the player’s “luck.” Thankfully, there are various ways to increase this parameter as players put more time into the game but it is understandable that this mechanic might not yet be privy to those just starting out.

 

Spend Your Gold

Despite being in its Alpha stage, the game already has somewhat of a progression system in place to reward players for the time they spend in the game. During runs, players will inevitably be able to collect gold by destroying light sources and picking up treasure chests. This gold can be used to purchase power-ups that help players get an easier or more challenging run. It can also be used to purchase unlockable characters after certain achievements and conditions have been met.

Having said this, it is generally advised for new players to spend their gold when and where they can. There is no such this as being thrifty, especially when the goal is to be powerful enough to slaughter as many monsters as possible.

 

Weapon Synergies

 

For a game where all you can do is run and pick up items, there are quite a lot of nuances involved when it comes to mastering Vampire Survivors. These nuances would often involve how one weapon may work in tandem with another. Figuring out which weapons and items synergize is half the battle of surviving a 30-minute run. The other half is, of course, running for your life while you try to complete your build.

Keep in mind that players will only have six slots for weapons and six other slots for support items available for every run, so make sure to make your choices count. More about weapons and weapons evolutions and synergies will be discussed later in this Vampire Survivors guide.

 

Other Tips and Tricks

Avoid Playing Too Defensively

New players may be in shock at how the game thrusts them right into combat without explanations or tutorials. In a typical survival game, the typical playstyle would be to try and play as defensively as possible ,which is perfectly fine.

However, defensive playing can only do so much in the face of hundreds of enemies coming at you from all sides. Vampire Survivors rewards players who know when and how to take risks. Playing too defensively in Vampire Survivors may lead to the player being severely underpowered as the difficulty of the game continues to scale with every passing minute.

Rather than focusing on trying to get away from the mobs, players should focus on taking the monsters out in a strategic manner. Doing this will allow players more control over how the wave of monsters develops. This also allows players to more easily gather the experience gems needed in order to scale to the late game without getting left behind by the difficulty of each incoming wave.

 

Learn Your Enemies

Vampire survivors feature a lot of different types of enemies and each of these has its own stats. There are also stronger variants of a single enemy that the players can encounter throughout a single run. Learning the behaviors and estimating the stats of these enemies is crucial to maximizing the player’s chances of survival. Having an in-depth understanding of your enemies gives you the knowledge of when you should play more offensively or defensively as well.

 

Use Your Pick-Ups Strategically

Treasure
Photo from Steam

 

In addition to coins and experience gems, players are also able to pick up special items that have various effects when destroying light sources. These special items grant the player powerful abilities, which can vary from being able to vacuum all the remaining experience gems on the map to granting the player a flamethrower for several seconds and freezing the enemies on the map for a short period.

Because of the sheer strength of these various items, it would be wise for players to reserve some of these pick-ups when the need calls for it. These special items don’t expire once they spawn as well so players can pick these up whenever they see fit. It would be a good idea to reserve the items with much more impact and strength for the late game when monsters are much harder to deal with.

 

EXP Gems Are Your Bestfriends

Experience gems are the lifeblood of every run in Vampire Survivors. Collecting these gems allows the player to level up and procure stronger weapons and items over the course of a game. There will be instances when the game may spawn too many gems. In such a scenario, the game automatically condenses the gems into a red gem which players can pick up for a massive boost in levels. This is also to prevent screen lag from having too many things on the screen at any given point.

There are characters and items in the game that can augment and give a bonus to the amount of experience you gain from gems as well. Using these items can effectively increase the number of ways players can deal with the monsters in the game. Essentially, the more enemies players kill, the more experience they get and the stronger they become.

 

Hidden Items

Inside every map of Vampire Survivors (except challenge maps) are items that may be hidden in hard-to-reach places. These hidden items can be hinted upon by the game itself or can spawn at different locations at random each playthrough. Normally, beginners would not have the time to look for these hidden items since they’ll be busy thinning the hordes of mobs coming at them. However, should a player be daring enough to search for these items hidden in regular maps, the items can provide a much stronger boost and extension to an already complete six weapon and six item builds.

Essentially, upon picking these hidden items up, players are then allowed to level these items to their maximum potential, all while granting an extra spot to the player’s inventory. Make sure to follow this Vampire Survivors guide to help you figure out what hidden item is in which stage.

 

Vampire Survivors Review

 

Gameplay

There isn’t really much to talk about the gameplay that surrounds Vampire Survivors. Players pick a starting character from a roster and then try to survive as long as possible by leveling up and getting stronger items and weapons. Picking the right loadout for the character player’s pick is essential for maximizing the chosen avatar’s potential as well.

Should players manage to survive for 30 minutes, they get a special congratulatory handshake from Death himself. Yes, that is what happens when players win. Death himself comes to clean them up, and there is nothing anyone can really do about it. Beginners may have a hard time surviving for that long but gradually, players will eventually be able to greet Death himself as long as they play well.

 

Graphics

As stated before, Vampire Survivors does not really feature the hyper-realistic graphics AAA games are known for in this day and digital age. The overall graphics of the game is very reminiscent of Castlevania, and its bullet-hell and rogue-lite elements contribute to the innate charm the game possesses. This game, with its pixelated characters and overall aesthetic, feels like something you would find in an arcade.

No complicated mechanics. No overly blown-out lore. Just you and thousands upon thousands of monsters. It’s a ton of fun if people are willing to give it a chance it very much deserves.

 

Playable Characters in Vampire Survivors

 

To date, Vampire Survivors feature quite the roster of playable characters. Some of these characters are automatically unlocked upon purchase. Others have a few requirements before becoming playable. There are also some secret characters that players can dig up. These secret characters are still very much available if players know how to tinker with codes.

Players originally start with Antonio Belpaese who owns a whip as his main weapon. After a few rounds, players will also be able to unlock more characters, each equipped with their own main weapon.

Here is a guide for all the playable characters with their main weapons in the latest version of Vampire Survivors.

  • Mask of Red Death / MissingNo (Death Spiral)
  • Exdash (Ebony Wings)
  • Porta Ladonna (Lightning Ring)
  • Pasqualina Belpaese (Runetracer)
  • Suor Clerici (Santa Water)
  • Krochi Freetto (Cross)
  • Arca Ladonna (Fire Wand)
  • Poe Ratcho (Garlic)
  • Lama Ladonna (Axe)
  • Antonio Belpaese (Whip)
  • Dommario (King Bible)
  • Gennaro Belpaese (Knife)
  • Imelda Belpaese (Magic Wand)
  • Yatta Cavallo (Cherry Bomb)
  • Mortaccio (Bone)

 

The recent patches for Vampire Survivors have also introduced a few new characters for players to enjoy. Here is a guide as to who these characters are and what their choice of main weapon is:

  • Poppea Pecorina (Song of Mana)
  • Christine Davain (Pentagram)
  • Pugnala Provala (Phiera del Tuphello & Eight the Sparrow)

 

Replayability

For a simple game with pixelated graphics, the replayability value that Vampires Survivors boast is outstanding. The gameplay only requires the player to be able to move. This trait allows the challenge of bobbing and weaving through monsters to take center stage. With random flashes of light that can either mean your salvation or defeat, players are kept on their toes about what sort of challenge the next minute will bring. Because of its rogue-lite elements, each run is different from the last. This challenges the players’ flexibility and adaptability. Compounded with the roster of characters with their own unique buffs, players are never short of what type of challenge they want to experience next.

Many players have been enamored with the simple gameplay that Vampire Survivors offer. Players of the game find it interesting to discover what other players do in their runs. They try to find out what types of weapon build they play with. Many players may take inspiration from what they see other creators use. Others simply make their own in the hopes of achieving a more personal and comfortable playstyle.

 

Sound Design

The sound design present in Vampire Survivors is, much like its graphics, very reminiscent of arcade games. The sound effects for the power-ups and even the gold are something you would hear from an arcade game. This sound design just hammers home the inspiration for how Vampire Survivors is supposed to play and feel: a 90s-era rogue-lite arcade inspired by Castlevania and bullet hell. Coupled with calming (and stream-safe) background music, your ears, eyes, and hands will have a hard time putting this game down.

 

Levels in Vampire Survivors

 

Newer players of Vampire Survivors might be surprised to see more content available for exploration. After the last patch, there are currently five stages players can challenge. All of these stages are equipped with their unique layouts and hidden secrets, and filled to the brim with monsters that can’t be seen in other stages.

These five levels may take a bit of work to unlock. However, gaining access to the levels is not significantly difficult. Additionally, players can expect more stages to be explored and added in the future. So far, here is a guide for all the stages available for play in the latest version of Vampire Survivors.

  • Mad Forest
  • Inlaid Library
  • Dairy Plant
  • Green Acres (Challenge Map)
  • Il Molise (Challenge Map)

 

Hyper Mode

Hyper Mode in Vampire Survivors is yet another way for players to up the ante in their monster-busting activities. This is basically a harder version of the maps with monsters that have more HP compared to a normal run. In exchange for the increase in difficulty, the luck stat of the player is buffed. Additionally, players also receive 50% more gold in Hyper Mode. This buff makes Hyper Mode runs a lucrative source of gold.

The key to unlocking this stage is by surviving the 25-minute mark and killing the boss that spawns then. When the boss spawns, there are only 5 minutes to slay it since the run ends at 30 minutes. Once the boss is killed, Hyper Mode will be accessible next time the stage select screen comes up.

 

Combat

Combat
Photo from Steam

 

The combat in Vampire Survivors purely involves weapons and their evolved counterparts. Therefore, the weapons players choose in a run can truly make or break their game. This is why it is imperative for beginners to familiarize themselves with what the weapons are capable of. Beginners also need to remember what items or conditions need to be fulfilled to upgrade said weapons.

Here is a more in-depth guide on the weapons players can use in Vampire Survivors.

 

Weapons and Weapon Evolutions Guide in Vampire Survivors

There are certain conditions that need to be met for players to be allowed to evolve any given weapon. Keep in mind that not all weapons pair with a supporting item to evolve, however. For example, the Peachone and Ebony Wings are both weapons that combine to become Vandilier, a much stronger version of the two birds.

Here is a guide for all the weapons with their evolutions available in the latest patch of Vampire Survivors.

  • Whip / Bloody Tear (Hollow Heart)
  • Magic Wand / Holy Wand (Empty Tome)
  • Fire Wand / Hellfire (Spinach)
  • King Bible / Unholy Vespers (Spellbinder)
  • Cross / Holy Sword (Clover)
  • Santa Water / La Borra (Attractorb)
  • Axe / Death Spiral (Candelabrador)
  • Garlic / Soul Eater (Pummarola)
  • Knife / Thousand Edges (Bracer)
  • Lightning Ring / Thunder Loop (Duplicator)
  • Peachone + Ebony Wings / Vandalier
  • Pentagram / Gorgeous Moon (Crown)

 

There are also powerful weapons without evolutions in the game. These are:

  • Runetracer
  • Cherrybomb
  • Bone

 

The latest additions to the weapons in Vampire Survivors guides are:

  • Song of Mana / Mannajja (Skull o’Maniac)
  • Pheria Der Tophello + Eight the Sparrow / Phieraggi (Tiragisu)

 

Achievements Guide in Vampire Survivors

Checklist
Photo from Steam

 

Vampire Survivors also feature an Achievements system. Players can complete these achievements and receive additional gold as a reward. There are achievements that can be fulfilled naturally by simply just completing a run. There are also other achievements that have more challenging conditions to accomplish.

Hints on how to complete each achievement in Vampire Survivors are given on the achievements page. This is so that players will have a reference on how to complete the tasks. Accomplishing these achievements will also allow the player to unlock certain power-ups and characters as well. It is advisable for newer players to complete as much as they can when playing the game.

 

Other General Tips

Here are some other tips that can guide you on how to complete a run in Vampire Survivors.

  • Different items and weapons will have varying effects depending on the stage and the enemies the player encounters. There are a lot of good combinations so weapons for players to discover. However, certain parameters like knockback, projectile speed, and DPS will have to be weighed before proceeding with any build.
  • In the early game, having a weapon that you have control over or is capable of homing into enemies in order to get experience fast is good.
  • Play in a strategic yet offensive manner. Look for items, buffs, and weapons that will allow you to dispatch as many enemies as possible.
  • Try to figure out what you want your build to be like early on. This will give you a clear vision of what items to go for and what items to skip when leveling up.
  • Remember that, sometimes, moving slowly or not moving at all may be more beneficial to your survival. Consider your build, survivability, and the type of enemies you’re currently facing in order to determine whether you should keep moving or simply stand your ground.

 

Secret Unlockables

What would be a game without some secrets and easter eggs? Vampire Survivors have a few things to award players for their grit and diligence in some code tinkering. Although most of these rewards are playable characters, that doesn’t really take away the fun of being able to discover these hidden gems in the game’s files or the game itself. Here is a guide and some tips on how to unlock some secret characters in Vampire Survivors.

 

MissingNo

MissingNo is a character that is a reference to the Pokemon franchise. It is nothing short of a delight to see it in a game like Vampire Survivors. Completionist fans of Pokemon would remember having to jump through various hoops and uncover bugging techniques in order to encounter the MissingNo pokemon.

In Vampire Survivors, MissingNo takes the form of a bizarrely colored reaper wielding a backward scythe. This secret character also has randomized stats every time you load it into the character select menu. This is great for players who want more of a challenge by incorporating a ton of RNG in their gameplay.

Players can unlock Missingno by tinkering around with the game’s local files. By doing this, players are allowing the data for the character to load on the character selection screen.

 

Mask O=of Red Death

The Mask of Red Death is the reaper that comes to greet players when they reach the 30-minute mark. He gives the player a handshake, and the player gives him their life, thus putting an end to a playthrough. This terrifying reaper is yet another unlockable feature of the game.

Players can unlock Mask of Red Death upon killing a reaper which is an infinitely more daunting task than it sounds. This is because the Mask of Red Death grows exponentially stronger the more levels the player accumulates. Many players have succeeded in unlocking this character but even they would admit that the effort it took was almost not worth it.

 

Exdash

Exdash is a character depicted by a blue ghost sprite with a halo over its head which is very similar to the design of Mortaccio. His weapon is an Ebony Wings which players can combine with a Peachone that evolves into a late-game lawnmower.

The method to unlock Exdash would be the easiest to do out of the three. All players have to do to make Exdash playable would be to type in “x-x1viiq” on the title screen which is a reference to the Atari code. After typing in the code, the player should hear a ‘ding’ which signifies that Exdash will be available for purchase the next time players load into the character selection screen.

 

Vampire Survivors vs Similar Games

The concept and gameplay behind Vampire Survivors are not a new thing that graced the market. There are plenty of bullet hell rogue-lites already available to the market that have made names for themselves already. Additionally, the pixelated graphics that the game incorporates date back to the very beginning of game development. This particular style has found a home in many gamers’ hearts.

With all that said, how do Vampire Survivors compare to similar games in the market?

 

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth

 

The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is a top-down RPG dungeon shooter with randomly generated elements that affects map layouts, weapon pick-ups, and even boss encounters throughout a single playthrough. Thie gist of the gameplay is that players will accompany Isaac and help him navigate randomly generating rooms and find treasure and unlock secrets along the way.

The main difference between Vampire Survivors and The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth is that Vampire Survivors does not feature randomly generating rooms which is a key element of gameplay in the Binding of Isaac. Both of these games feature stylized pixel graphics; however, the design of the sprites in the Binding of Isaac seems much more original. On the other hand, the sprites of Vampire Survivors are very clearly inspired by Castlevania and similar games. Another thing of note is that players get to be in control of Isaac’s attacks. The same could not be said for the characters in Vampire Survivors.

 

Nuclear Throne

 

Nuclear Throne is an action rogue-like that is set in a post-apocalyptic world filled with monsters. Radioactive wastes cause the creatures to mutate into monsters granting others the ability to fly as well. It is up to the player to gather what weaponry they can to fight against the barrage of enemies.

While both Nuclear Throne and Vampire Survivors feature very similar pixelated graphics styles, there are still variations regarding how the sprites are tailored to match the aesthetics and overall feel of both games. Nuclear Throne also features a very immersive aiming mechanic that many players would find satisfying.

 

Enter the Gungeon

 

Enter the Gungeon is a bullet hell dungeon climber that follows the adventures of a band of misfits called the Gungeoneers. These Gungeoneers aim to crawl the depths of the dungeon in order to obtain the Gun That Can Kill The Past. Their motives are to achieve personal absolution from their embattled past. Armed with random guns, an insatiable desire to loot the dungeon for all its worth, and the trusty dodge roll, each Gungeoneer must navigate through random rooms, fight menacing bosses, and descend until they find that gun that can change their lives forever.

What Enter the Gungeon does well is how the game differentiates its astonishing number of characters from one another. The game allows for each of the Gungeoneers to shine in their own regards. Couple this with a well-fleshed-out storyline for each of the characters, and players have almost no time to put this game down. While Vampire Survivors may not yet feature anything that pertains to the lore behind the characters available for play, this is something many fans of Vampire Survivors are definitely looking forwards to in the near future.

 

Final Thoughts

Vampire Survivors is a new brand of rogue-lite currently taking streaming platforms by storm with its charming graphics and amazing replayability value. Satisfying yet incredibly simple mechanics also help the game sell to people who are just wanting to wind down from an intense gaming session.

Since the release of the Alpha version for Vampire Survivors, the game has managed to gain traction enough for the developer to be able to push updates and patches every other week to maintain the gaming experience of the dedicated fanbase. Now, the game can be seen in scoreboards competing with major AAA titles like Left 4 Dead 2, Rocket League, and even Terraria. It is exciting to see how this simplistic auto-shooter will continue to improve in the coming days.

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