Sometimes the best Android games find effective gameplay loops by focusing on a single aspect of existing game genres. Vampire Survival is a perfect example of this, taking the simple loop of surviving infinite enemy waves and refining it into an addictive, easy-to-learn experience that’s tailor-made for the best Android phones, given the extremely limited player inputs. AP would like to end the year with a roundup of great mobile games inspired by Vampire Survivors.
One thing that’s great about the VS gameplay loop is the variety of attack types, with melee and ranged attack strategies getting constant rewards and upgrades, coupled with the lack of a fire button which makes for an engaging feedback loop. Super Wizard embodies this very well, putting you in control of a wizard battling endless hordes of enemies using a variety of spells. As you kill enemies, you level up, giving you access to new skills and upgrades to your existing ones. Overall, the attack progression is satisfying, the enemies are creative in a retro way, and Honestly, Super Wizard is a game that’s hard to put down.
20 minutes until dawn
A more solid example of what Vampire Survivor’s gameplay loop entails is 20 Minutes to Dawn, a VS-inspired gunplay-focused game. While some of the games in this roundup tend to start off a bit slow, this is unfortunately one of them. Her initial turret attack is noticeably slow and unsatisfying, with a cooldown just long enough to get annoying. This encourages you to try different upgrades to increase damage output, but the slow starting point risks knocking out some players. That being said, the attacks pack some big impact once the game gets going, and it’s no less intriguing to play.
The minimalist graphics of some VP-inspired games can look sinister and even regressive, but you quickly learn that a game presents itself this way to compensate for the large number of enemies that appear on screen at once. Zombie Survivors, on the other hand, has a modern cartoon art style alongside a more wanton philosophy of destruction. Your character is armed with multiple firearms and edged weapons, all stacked on top of each other, increasing your destructive ability as enemies grow in strength and numbers. There’s a slight issue with the melee attacks, as they’re too rare to be reliable when things get desperate, but the game’s quirky presentation and gunplay more than make up for it. There are also cool enemy designs and boss fights. What’s not to like?
A slight departure from the formula, Barbarian follows the principle of the VS gameplay loop but changes the execution. You take control of a bard facing an army of goblins, and your only defense is to summon others to fight for you. While this makes for an amusing spectacle, the fact that your attacks are coming from the area around you rather than exactly where you are can make precision impossible. This is mainly because your party members are constantly changing positions around you, making it frustrating as the difficulty increases. A creative and fun premise that’s somewhat let down by its shaky execution, but you’ll enjoy it as long as you make solid investments before things get real.
Getting back to retro style, Marine Survivor is by far the most VP-like old-school feel in this roundup. You take control of a Space Marine and must survive an ever-increasing horde of enemy aliens armed with explosive weapons. A known issue occurs when your starting weapon is slow and unsatisfying, a slow-firing one-hit kill that doesn’t auto-aim like other games of this ilk. You have to manually line up your shots with the same finger you’re moving with, which is as awkward as it sounds, especially when it’s being besieged from all sides. That being said, the game’s creative and destructive weapons make up for it as they’re a blast. This one takes a while to get going, but it’s definitely worth the extra effort.
Legend of Slime: Idle RPG
While not a true blue VS-like game, Legend of the Slime embodies many of the qualities associated with a wave-based mobile game. You control a small blue slime and must progress at all costs while mowing down opponents. The gameplay presentation is similar to a runner game, but in practice turns out to be very much like a VS-inspired title. Both movement and combat are completely idle; The interactive element is pouring the money your enemies drop into your stats, increasing your attack damage, health, and health regeneration. In many ways, this is the antithesis of VS-like gameplay, a system where you control the level-ups directly rather than movement. Legend of the Slime presents itself well and balances challenges without becoming too easy. Give it a try if you’re looking for something different.
If I were asked which game on the Play Store best embodies the VS gameplay loop, it would be Hero Survival. The setup is as you would expect; You are in a field and must fend off endless waves of enemies using a variety of weapons and spells. This game doesn’t hide its intent to suck you in with instant gratification, upgrades are semi-constant, and chests with more loot are scattered throughout the area, occasionally giving you a magnet that acquires all the XP points on the map. Her offensive moves feel great and the enemy sprites are reminiscent of early Castlevania titles, which puts me in the mood for the best arcade games on Android. Hero Survival is very well put together and fiendishly addictive.
Lonely Survivor concludes with another VS-like mage theme, putting you in control of a mage under attack from countless enemies. You must rely on various spells to defend against enemies using fireball projectiles, lightning bolts, damaging shields and more, all of which are upgraded by defeating enemies. This is another example of a game that is very difficult to complete, with its positive reinforcement, hypnotic waves of enemies, and the dopamine hit that comes from a shield that kills anything it touches instantly. As good as the game is, the usual appeal of a VS-like game is the limitless map with no restrictions, but the boss fights in closed arenas in this game until the boss is dead, which affects the pacing a bit. But overall this game is a lot of fun.
Pure shooting and loot is the name of the game
We hope you enjoyed our selection of Vampire Survivors clones in today’s roundup. These games are all worth checking out as they are all subtly different and you will likely find a favorite after a few games. Let us know which titles have won you over below, and check back soon for more of this great little subgenre. And make sure you check out those brilliant Android tablets and use a wider screen to render more enemies, and why not check out some great tablet-optimized apps on Android while you’re at it? This subgenre is just exploding into the air. So if you have any suggestions as to what should qualify as great VP-like, we’d love to hear about them. Until next time.