“Vampire Survivors” and the Next Generation of Shoot Em’ Up’s

I have been a fan of “shoot em’ up’s” ever since I started playing video games. Like many of you, the first “shoot em’ up” game I ever played was “Galaga”, and ever since then I was hooked. I obviously wasn’t the only one who was addicted to “galaga” since it has now become a staple in any arcade as well as spinning off countless other titles that are still being released to this very day.

While Shoot em’ up’s (or shmups as raygunn likes to call them) have slowly been fading from the spotlight, a new title for the genre released late last year and has completely taken over. Fans and newcomers alike have been entranced by this game and have been glued to their screens playing it. “Vampire Survivors” released on Steam on December 17th, 2021, and has a 98% positive review from over 100k reviews. “Vampire Survivors” brands itself as a roguelike shmup where your goal is to last as long as you can against endless waves of enemies and bosses that get progressively harder. Once you inevitably die, you get gold coins which can be used to unlock new characters as well as upgrade them. So how did an Indie game that was developed by a single person and only costs $3, win the hearts of so many? Simply put, “the gameplay is just so much fun”, the game was released with no announcements, no ads, contains almost no lore or story, and yet has become a sensation.

The gameplay goes as follows; kill monsters, level up, choose/upgrade abilities, and become unstoppable. As said in an interview with the creator, in this game “YOU are the bullet hell”, towards the end of your run you become so powerful that you can easily take on thousands of enemies, that is if you are able to make it to that point. The satisfaction of mowing down hundreds of enemies at a time has never been matched by any other title in the genre. The game has gotten so popular that other studios have already made dozens of clones to ride the hype and some have been very successful and even improved upon certain aspects of the game. Some notable mentions are “10 Minutes Till Dawn”, “Spellbook Demonslayers: Prologue”, “Gunlocked” and “Spirit Hunters: Infinite Horde”. I would highly recommend giving it a try if you haven’t already, and if I haven’t sold you on it yet, here is some satisfying gameplay for your enjoyment.