Vampire Survivors is the top game on Steam here’s why – Tom’s Guide

For the last week, Vampire Survivors took over Steams top charts and has become the most-played game on Steam Deck by a country mile.

And if you just look at the gameplay a very basic rogue-like that simply asks you to kill mob after mob of undead enemies you might not understand what all the buzz is about.

Underneath the games Windows 98 aesthetic and seemingly monotonous gameplay is something rather addicting: a character unlock mechanic that changes the game ever-so-slightly on each run and an arsenal of weapons that gets bigger with each run. Couple that with its quick gameplay loop that only takes between 10 and 20 minutes for each death, and youve got all the makings of an accessible and addictive game.

As I already mentioned, theres not much to the game. You pick a character with one special ability to go into an open field and attempt to survive as long as possible.

As youre killing swaths of undead, youll pick up experience points that will help you level up, granting you either a bonus to one of the weapons you already have or a new weapon to add to your arsenal. These weapons will attack on their own accord based on a cool down, so all you need to do is deftly strafe incoming monsters while the weapons do their thing.

Besides experience tokens, youll also pick up coins that can be spent on more characters. Currently there are officially 24 options to pick from in the game; however, theres also hidden characters I wont spoil here that help give the game that one more run feeling that you might have gotten from other popular rogue-likes in the past.

Key to Vampire Surivors' popularity is obviously its simplicity. Surviving is such an easy thing to do until it suddenly isnt because your weapons arent strong enough or fire fast enough to repel the hoard thats bearing down upon you. When that happens, theres rarely anything to be mad about the game wasnt unfair in its scaling, and the only thing you couldve changed were the level-up bonuses you picked or how you maneuvered in the last mob.

Otherwise, all you can do is try again. This time with a new character.

If youre of a certain age, youll no doubt remember Flash games browser-based games that you could play on almost any computer (especially school computers) in your free time.

It could very well be argued that Vampire Survivors is a modern flash game. Not only is it free-to-play online like Flash games are if you dont want to own the game on Steam, its also simple, fun and quick. Plus, Vampire Survivors rewards you for coming back to it.

It doesnt hurt either that you can play a version of the game online free in a browser, no less by going to the developer's page on (opens in new tab).

Because the graphics arent that advanced, theres no need to have a killer gaming rig in order to play it, and because each run is so short, its the perfect game for Steam Deck when you find yourself with a few minutes to yourself.

This is where things get tricky. Games like these short and sweet rogue-likes like FTL: Faster Than Light tend to hang around for a few months while we learn their ins and outs. They draw us in and hold us while the devs work to squeeze out more content from a thin premise, until eventually, we move on to the next one.

That sounds a bit bleak when you write it out and perhaps too quickly writes off games that hang their hats on simple gameplay loops but thats the cyclical nature of the gaming industry. Unless youve got depth, like say Skyrim, Grand Theft Auto or Red Dead Redemption have, its just not feasible to hold a top spot forever.

Smaller indies, especially rogue-likes, move in and out of fashion quickly.

Even when the time comes to hang up our survival shoes, it wont be a sad day. Games like Vampire Survivors give us something to dissect, something to sink our teeth into thats outside the normal coverage cycle. And as someone who still holds a soft spot in his heart for Flash games, Vampire Survivors was exactly the diversion I needed this week.

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Vampire Survivors is the top game on Steam here's why - Tom's Guide

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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