Games To Play If You Like Vampire Survivors

Highlights

  • Vampire Survivors has spawned a new genre of indie games with waves of enemies, varied weapons, and attractive price points.
  • Slime 3k, Time Wasters, An Ankou, and other games in the genre offer unique mechanics and gameplay twists for a fresh experience.
  • From Deep Rock Galactic Survivor to RICE, there are a variety of games that cater to different preferences within the VS genre, providing fun and engaging gameplay.

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Since its launch in December 2021, Vampire Survivors has made waves in the indie gaming world with its simple mechanics and just-one-more-run gameplay design that makes it easy to pick up and hard to put down. Best of all, it was shockingly cheap on release, which belied the amount of enjoyment you’d actually get from it.

Related: Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting Vampire Survivors

In its wake, a new genre has formed, defined by waves of enemies to fight and survive against, varied weapons, characters, and upgrades to experiment with, and an attractive price point. While lesser copycats just in it for a buck are inevitable, here are the best examples the genre has to offer and a few older titles that are surprisingly similar despite pre-dating Vampire Survivors.

Updated on October 23, 2023, by Christopher Padilla: Vampire Survivors spawned a genre that keeps giving. While some have been poorly made derivatives, others are taking the genre in new and exciting directions. We’ve added a few of these titles to ensure you don’t miss out. While some of these are only demos, they are already quite robust!

25 Slime 3k: Rise Against Despot

A Slime with weapons suspended in it fires at nearby puny humans. To its left is a big black creature

Seemingly bog-standard at first blush, Slime 3k does some interesting things that we haven’t really seen in the genre before. An offshoot of the Despot series of games, Rise Against Despot retains the dark humor and pixel art stylings of the other titles, but this time, as a VS-like.

The most unique thing about the game is the ability to curate your upgrades through a customizable deck of cards before a match even starts, allowing you to make synergistic builds to more efficiently mow down the hordes of puny humans and other creatures coming for you. Part VS, part deckbuilder, and part auto chess: if this heady mix is up your alley, the game currently has a demo on Steam and has a planned release in November.

24 Time Wasters

Time Wasters Captains Ranked Feature Pic

Vampire Survivors, but in SPAAAAACE! Time Wasters takes the familiar formula and takes it into the stars. Though fans of VS will feel right at home here, the game throws in enough wrinkles to keep it interesting. Chief among them are the Captains, the characters you play. Not only do they start with a set weapon, but they unlock a special functionality in their signature weapon as well.

Captains also have their own unique upgrades, which goes nicely with the fact that you can take on multiple captains in a run for your own customized crew. The map also features buildings that give you all sorts of powers, but which will occasionally come under siege, being removed from the run if you don’t save them.

23 An Ankou

The Apothecary (top middle) fires a cone of shrapnel at some enemies.

To borrow a cliche, An Ankou is basically the Dark Souls of VS-likes. This game takes the scaling and roguelike nature of Survivors-type games but puts it in an ARPG/survival/crafting game that takes a familiar formula and twists it into a completely different experience.

Related: The Hardest RPGs Of All Time

Upgrades are not just given to you in An Ankou, you have to craft them yourself or make an offering at a shrine (using a random material). You collect materials from the field at the relevant nodes (iron from deposits, wood from trees, etc.) and craft them into weapons and armor, hopefully keeping at pace with the game’s scaling.

You only get a small tutorial to get you started, and you’re left to figure out the rest for yourself. If you’ve ever felt like taking the VS genre from something meditative to an experience with teeth, then you can find this game on Steam Early access at a modest price.

22 Deep Rock Galactic Survivor

Deep Rock Galactic Survivor gameplay of a dwarf fighting off waves of insects underground

The folks who brought you Deep Rock Galactic have thrown their pickaxe into the VS arena with Deep Rock Galactic Survivor, marrying the gameplay of VS with the rock-and-stone of DRG. This isn’t just an aesthetic choice either; Ghost Ship games added resource gathering and mining as important mechanics.

In practice, this leads to a more claustrophobic experience since maps are full of choke points and corridors, but with your trusty pickaxe, you can dig through the stone and make enemies’ paths toward you. Like in DRG, you can mine up Gold and Nitra for between-map upgrades, and the weaponry leads to new and exciting ways to splatter the bugs of Hoxxes IV. The game already has a feature-rich demo on Steam, with a planned release date sometime in 2024.

21 Disfigure

The cone light mode in Disfigure, which allows you to see in a long distance cone shape, but blinds you in every other direction

This is a strange little game that brings some intriguing mechanics to the table. As far as VS-likes go, this one is closer to 20 Minutes Till Dawn than Vampire Survivors in both mood and gameplay. However, its core mechanic of light and darkness is all its own.

In addition to the usual swarm of enemies, you’ll also have to face the darkness. There are two vision modes: circle, which illuminates a small area around your character, and cone, which illuminates much farther but only in one direction. To make things even more interesting, upgrades often interact with the light and darkness as well.

The game is feature-light, but there’s still plenty of gameplay and experimentation to be done, and it’s as cheap as free.

20 Swarm Grinder

Swarm Grinder gameplay. The right side is populated by unpopped cells. the bottom are enemies. Numbers are damage values.

If you love VS but wish that the game were much more claustrophobic, then Swarm Grinder is for you. The gameplay is familiar but with a major twist: you are surrounded by walls that you can break down, but this will also free the titular Swarm. This effectively means that you control the pace at which enemies come at you (to a degree).

You’re constantly running out of fuel, which eats into your health if you can’t top up. Enemies drop fuel, so you’ll need to mow them down if you want to stay alive. Progression is tied to Mining Stations that you establish across the map instead of killing enemies, further incentivizing you to keep on moving. This loop of feast and famine, risk and reward makes for some interesting runs.

19 Yet Another Zombie Survivors

Yet Another Zombie Survivor: A Squad Of Survivors Facing Against A Large Horde

Basically, VS with modern weaponry instead of spells and sorcery. However, Yet Another Zombie Survivors’ change of flavor makes all the difference. Everyone loves mowing down zombies, after all. Currently in early access, the game is feature-light, but there’s enough to it that it’s still quite fun.

Related: Yet Another Zombie Survivors – Beginner Tips

Plus, it’s not exactly a reskin since it adds a new mechanic to the genre: the ability to form squads. During a run, you can add other characters to your party, for a max total of a three-man squad.

18 Boneraiser Minions

The Boneraiser wearing the helm of the Shovel Night. They're surrounded by flames, traps, and enemies

In Boneraiser Minions, instead of avoiding the horde, you are the horde… while you also avoid a horde of pesky humans. This game casts you as a Boneraiser, a necromantic lord who summons animated skeletons and other unholy minions to fight off your enemies.

In theory, this would seem like a huge paradigm shift. But in practice, you’re still dodging swarms of enemies while collecting resources – bones to construct your armies with instead of gems. However, it’s still different enough to be fun in its own way. Plus, everything is done in an 8-bit art style, calling to mind classics like Ghosts ‘n Goblins for the NES, giving it all a retro charm.

17 RICE

The protagonist of RICE sports a long red scarf as it mows down enemies. Damage numbers are shown in white

Just going by the name, you can tell that RICE is something else. The name is an acronym, standing for Repetitive Indie Combat Experience, and it’s an important hint for what sets this game apart from other VS-likes, namely, that it seems to dislike and actively lambasts the genre as a whole.

You’ll also quickly find that the game doesn’t like you, the player, either. From a story that casts you as a galactic-level mass murderer to unhelpful item descriptions and tooltips that are condescending or even directly insulting, RICE drips with disdain.

This doesn’t actually stop the game from being fun. Aside from the gameplay you’re used to, it also adds some interesting wrinkles to the genre, like the weapon upgrade system that has you collecting three of the same weapon type to get a more powerful version of that weapon. Or a meta-upgrade system oddly reminiscent of Resident Evil 4’s attaché case.

16 Crafty Survivors

The Seamstress flies through the air. Blue circles indicate electrified ground. Ropes from her dash attack litter the field.

If you love the gameplay of 20 Minutes Till Dawn but wish it was centered around crafts or had stronger character identities, then Crafty Survivors is the game for you. It has endless waves of enemies that you crave to obliterate, but every character also represents a craft.

Related: Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting Crafty Survivors

There’s a chef who prepares foes for a screen-clearing feast, a seamstress-ninja, a sculptor whose statues devastate the battlefield, and more on the way. The game is in Early Access but is already pretty fun in its current state.

15 Tiny Rogues

The Cowboy fighting the Mandrake boss. The Mandrake fills the screen with vines, bullets, and seeds

Stylistically, Tiny Rogues is fairly similar to VS, sporting a crisp 16-bit look out of the SNES era as opposed to the 32-bit Symphony of the Night thing Vampire Survivors has going. Though their core gameplay loop is different, they have enough similarities that if you enjoy one, you’re likely to enjoy the other.

You still dodge bullets and clear waves of enemies and come up with gonzo builds made from random drops, but Tiny Rogues has you clearing rooms and beating ten classically themed worlds. Win or lose, you take Souls, the game’s meta-currency, back to the beginning, which you can use to unlock new characters, buffs, and items you can take into your next run.

14 Gatekeeper: Eclipse

Gatekeeper: Eclipse - A Horde Of Enemies Swarming To A Defence Point

This game applies the VS formula to an alien setting full of far-future tech that makes the whole thing feel uncannily unknowable. Strange geometries and inconceivable tech do roughly similar things to your standard video game weapons and upgrades.

The game has two modes, the standard VS style has you also searching for totems you defend, which will allow you to get to the next level, and currently has a looping-run mechanic similar to Soulstone Survivors.

The other mode is a horde-style game where you defend The Heart of Time from waves of enemies. Gatekeeper: Eclipse is a free Early Access demo, but if you like it, the devs are working on a full-release Gatekeeper game.

13 Brotato

brotato character fending off enemies featured image

Brotato is a twin-stick shooter in the same vein as 20 Minutes Till Dawn but trades in the infinitely scrolling levels for a claustrophobic arena that leaves you just enough room for some thrilling battles.

Also, unlike others in the VS-like genre, the game can be enjoyed in short bursts. Full runs are comparable in length to others in the genre, but the game is broken up into short rounds that allow you to pick up and put down the game pretty much at will without losing any progress.

Visually, the game is a throwback to the flash games of the mid-’00s, calling to mind Newgrounds classics like Alien Hominid and Castle Crashers. In-run progression is pretty interesting: each piece of equipment is tagged as a part of a set, with each set giving a unique buff that gets more powerful as you get more of it, a la battle chess games like TFT.

The game also has accessibility features that include a customizable difficulty, which is a nice concession to the more casual crowd.

12 Just King

A squad fights a boss in the ice world in Just King

A charming little game that combines the VS genre with elements from battle chess games and just a hint of tower defense, Just King is an interesting blend of gameplay tropes that has the potential to be something special.

As intriguing as the concept is, it’s a barebones experience at the moment, even more so than the five months it has been in Early Access would lead you to believe. Hopefully, the game will live up to the promise it has by the time it hits its 1.0 release.

11 Rogue: Genesia

Leftover gems and coins in a stage that is about to end, once you run out of time, you leave everything behind

Visually, Rogue: Genesia is the closest to VS’ art style, with similar 16-bit console-era pixel art. But, where VS is clearly inspired by the Castlevania series, this game brings to mind classic sprite art Final Fantasy.

Related: Things We Wish We Knew Before Starting Rogue: Genesia

The gameplay is similar to VS, but the game leans more into the roguelite style. Similar to games like Slay the Spire, you traverse an overworld map. At the combat nodes, fights play out like you’d expect from a VS-like, with the stage ending when you reach a goal, usually outlasting the clock, killing a set amount of enemies, or killing elites or bosses.

10 Spellbook Demonslayers

The protagonist of Spellbook Demonslayers, surrounded by demons and attempting to capture a Shrine

Of all the VS-likes that are out right now, this one offers the most bangin’ soundtrack to back the action. It’s full of rocking tracks that bring to mind the infectious instrumentals of the Sonic Adventure 2 OST. Visually, it’s nothing to write home about, but the pixel art animesque aesthetic is easy enough on the eyes. But on the whole, its setting of a cosmic library under siege by demons doesn’t really shine through.

The gameplay isn’t revolutionary, playing like a middle ground between VS and 20 Minutes ‘till Dawn, but it has some interesting tweaks to the formula that make it pretty fun. Aside from a robust meta-progression system, the game adds Shrines– basically a capture-the-flag objective for buffs that provides tactical options and the ability to evolve passive abilities (Auras), a concept that other VS-likes should ‘borrow’ in the future.

9 Soulstone Survivors

Fighting an enemy horde in Soulstone Survivors

Perhaps the most gonzo VS-like, Soulstone Survivors distinguishes itself from most other titles with its 3D art style and almost gratuitous levels of physics modeling and particle effects on display. When a run gets going, the combination of the hordes of enemies that ragdoll upon defeat, destroyable stage props, and spectacular ability animations can be kind of wild.

Related: Soulstone Survivors – Beginner Tips

Sometimes, this works against the game since it can devolve into a lot of visual noise and sometimes hide objectives. Still, if you can keep track of the action, there are plenty of things to collect and unlock, meaning there’s always another reason to dive back into the fray.

8 Bounty Of One

Fighting one of the unique bosses in Bounty of One, Crazy Daniel who scatters explosives on the battlefield

Bounty Of One, which is currently in Early Access, is cut from a similar cloth as VS but trades in the 16-bit era Castlevania aesthetic for a cartoony cowboys-by-way-of-D&D look that is just too charming. The gameplay should be familiar to anyone who’s played VS, though the inclusion of a dash mixes things up a bit.

Some design decisions are questionable, like limiting firing your weapon to when you’re not moving and the inability to manually aim your shots, which is strange since the creators recommend that you play with a controller. Some new additions to the genre, however, are promising. The introduction of multiplayer is intriguing, though it’s limited to local play.

Better implemented are the boss enemies, dubbed “Sheriffs,” which clear the screen of the regular mobs and force you into a mano-a-mano fight against a unique enemy with its own fighting style and a hefty health bar, which is a refreshing addition to the genre the others will hopefully follow.

7 HoloCure

Vtuber Ookami Mio fights off rabid fans in the Hololive offices in Holocure

If you like this genre and love Vtubers, then you need to play this game since it’s essentially a Vampire Survivors clone with some interesting tweaks to the formula, all themed around the internationally popular Vtubing group, Hololive.

Hololive lovers, this is your game. It’s chock-full of Hololive goodness, from the characters who are based on their Vtubers to the items and weapons, which are all based on in-jokes about the members of the group.

If you’re not a fan, give the game a go anyway since it puts some interesting spins to the formula, like giving characters ultimate attacks and unlocking them based on a gacha system. The game also received a Steam release in mid-August, adding all sorts of features and new characters, including Steam Achievements and a whole life-sim minigame.

6 20 Minutes Till Dawn

Vampire Survivors but as a twin-stick shooter, this game did it first

Though the games are quite similar, 20 Minutes Till Dawn put a few tweaks in the formula that make it feel like a different if slightly familiar experience.

Related: Things You Need To Know Before Starting 20 Minutes Till Dawn

The most important difference is that this game has you manually firing your weapon, making it akin to a twin-stick shooter. This game also trades the SNES-era aesthetic for a 4-bit RGBI palette that calls to mind IBM computers, and instead of Castlevania-esque creatures, you get eldritch abominations.

The game received its 1.0 release, and its final form shows plenty of polish, adding new weapons, new mechanics, and a whole lot more. Whether you’ve been backing it from the beginning or just jumping in, it’s definitely worth a go if you like your VS-likes to have more action.

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