Vampire Hunters Updated Preview

Vampire Hunters Review Preview

We at Niche Gamer have covered our fair share of Survivors titles, as you can see in our Survivors-like megapost, which featured games like Brotato, 20 Minutes Till Dawn and many others. We have also covered Vampire Hunters before, although in a different state.

The original gameplay loop for Vampire Hunters consisted of an FPS/Survivors-like/Infinite runner hybrid in which the player had to make their way through a giant hallway while avoiding an infinite stream of monsters.

Our past Vampire Hunters preview covered the game’s “Classic” mode, as that was the only available experience at the time, but the latest patch made our preview slightly outdated. The game’s Classic game mode is still worth playing, but it’s definitely not the star of the show anymore.

Vampire Hunters has fully transitioned from a level-based roguelite into a score attack arena shooter with its newest update. The game now features two different open arenas in which the player has to carefully maneuver their way around a barrage of infinitely-spawning enemies and bosses.

Alongside the two maps and new game mode, players also get to choose between three different characters, each with a unique skill tree and gameplay style. Despite having some issues, skill trees are a really smart addition to any Survivors title, as they incentivize players to invest time in a character rather than relying in global upgrades.

That said, it does feel a little bad to pick up a new character without having global upgrades like you’d do in Classic mode, and it’s a real grind to acquire the later nodes in their talent trees, but investing your time in a character does feel rewarding once you start unlocking their passive abilities.

As someone who only had a brief exposure to Vampire Hunters before, the Survivors mode feels like it was the default experience all along, despite only having been added to the game less than a month ago.

The large space present in the game’s arenas feels so much better than the claustrophobic corridors that we go through in Classic mode, and the level design synergizes with Vampire Hunters‘ gameplay quite nicely.

Aside from having completely unique sets of enemies and layouts, there are also different unlocks tied to each arena. This unlock system is how you’ll be able to unlock new guns and the constellations, which serve as run modifiers. This system is a great incentive for players to try both maps out, even if the second map, Village Yard, is much harder than the Brotherhood Chateau.

Despite a lot of positive and exciting features, the Survivors experience isn’t exactly perfect at the moment. The added bosses are recycled from Classic mode, and some of them feel absurd to fight against, being able to outright end your run depending on bad luck.

Saci and the Swarm are especially rough encounters. Saci is prone to teleporting before you can even land a shot on him, while the Swarm sometimes spawns one of its cocoons outside of the map, making the boss unkillable. Things like these make the Survivors mode look a little undercooked as far as playtesting goes.

The balancing is also a little out of whack at the moment, as even the regular enemies may have been overtuned for this mode. Enemy health and amount scale way faster than the player is able to become strong, making it so they feel like bullet sponges past the 5 minute mark.

It feels really difficult to get strong in the Survivors mode, as there aren’t that many synergies that the player can pick up to make a crazy build. A lot of the guns don’t necessarily interact with each other, and the passive bonuses from artifacts are negligible.

Most of the time you’re just doing your best to stay alive and then become forced to stop leveling up altogether when too many enemies show up, as they block you from picking up experience from the ground.

Surviving for 30 minutes feels like an impossible challenge at the moment, as even breaking 15 minutes seems to be a tall ask. The fact that cheap bosses can stop your progression in its tracks also hurts some of the enjoyment that could be had with this mode.

That said, Gamecraft Studios could have finished the game’s set of Classic mode levels and called it a 1.0 release, but instead chose to develop what is basically a second game inside of Vampire Hunters with the addition of Survivors mode, and that’s really commendable.

The Survivors mode may not be perfect at the moment, especially balancing-wise, but it would be absurd to write it off just yet, especially when the developers have been intently listening to player feedback.

There have definitely been a few missteps as far as the new mode’s difficulty curve goes, but seeing how much the game has improved over time, there’s no doubt in my mind that Gamecraft Studios will be able to turn it around into a really fun experience.

Vampire Hunters is absolutely worth playing despite this slight hiccup with the new content update, and the sheer absurdity of the game’s premise makes for a fantastic spectacle and a really unique Survivors title.

There’s really no game out there that lets you wield 10 guns at the same time, and both game modes currently present are extremely addictive in different ways. With time, Survivors mode will be a fantastic way to experience Vampire Hunters‘ crazy gameplay loop. We just have to give it some time for the balancing kinks to be worked out.

Vampire Hunters is available on Microsoft Windows (through Steam’s Early Access).


Fan of skeletons, plays too many video games, MMO addict, soul-like and character action enthusiast.

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