“The game is so good I lost track of time,” said the random internet person who I immediately felt was stretching the truth for effect. We all know how time works, so just say it’s a good game and let it be. No need for this level of hyperbole, where a mere liking of something is so exaggerated you go from “This game is great” to “this game is so good it makes all other games obsolete.” There were 10 billion wasps around the bin! No there wasn’t, Timmy. I saw about three.
So, you can imagine my complete shock, jaw agog, dribble dripping down the side of my face and sticking in my beard, eyes pinned open as if about to get correctional laser surgery, when I played Vampire Survivors, one of the latest games to come to Xbox Game Pass on consoles and PC. This game is so good I almost ruined my lunch.
Let me create the scene for you with this little tale of discovery and woe. Last night I made veggie curry for the family, knowing I’d have some left over for today’s lunch. Excellent planning on my part. I’d just need to nip into Lidl on the way home from the morning school run to pick up a naan, and I’d have a rather lovely, easy lunch.
The first part of the plan was simple and executed like Agent 47. I was in and out of Lidl in about 60 seconds, home by 8:45, with time to make three cups of coffee before work at 9. Excellent stuff.
Some hours of solid work later and lunch crept up on me. Fancying a bit of game time, I jumped on the Xbox and downloaded Vampire Survivors. I’d seen people bigging it up and it was a quick game to get going as it looks like It’d run on an Amiga. As it was downloading I put the curry in the microwave and a naan (not, two, Jeremy) in the oven. No need for a timer, I thought, as the microwave will beep and the naan will be about done by then.
Into the living room I went, the smell of some ground garam masala hitting my nostrils. I booted up Vampire Survivors and I was cutting about the old-school environment with all the glee of an actual vampire in a nursing home. I gorged myself too much on the unbelievably fun, simple gameplay (moving around and letting weapons just fire off around you), and somehow didn’t hear the microwave beep. The naan – I’m sorry to say – wasn’t going to join her friends in Lavender Lodge. Burnt to a crisp.
It’s a sad tale, I’m sure you’ll agree. But one that ended with having a new game to throw myself into when I have a few spare moments – or hours. I played on Xbox, but I can see it working brilliantly on Steam Deck, which is where I’m going to play it next. I’ve read almost nothing on Vampire Survivors, but it has a lick of Geometry Wars’ Pacifism mode about it – something I got hugely into back in the day. You must avoid enemies at points, but attack is essential for leveling up and getting new gear and money. It’s balanced perfectly.
If, like me, you’ve seen some screens of Vampire Survivors and turned your nose up at its appearance, I am here to ask you to give it a chance. Hopefully when you do it won't result in a burnt naan.
Big twist: I had bought a two-pack, and didn’t make the same mistake twice.