Every once in a while, among the masses of big budget games, a rare gem pops up that lacks the polish of the competition, but strikes the right chord with its audience. With a near perfect balance of simple controls, a nostalgic sense of style, and an addictive sense of accomplishment, Vampire Survivors has been a prime example of these gaming gems. After choosing from a roster of heroes, each with a specific starting weapon and special bonus, you're dropped into a wide open stage where monsters converge upon your location. Your weapons fire off automatically, leaving you free to focus on weaving your way through the increasing swarms of creatures while picking up gems from defeated foes to build up your character level, earning new or upgrading current weapons along the way. That's it. There's no great plot or epic character development, and each run is guaranteed to end in death. But much like the quarter gobbling arcade games of days past, you just can't help trying just one more run.
After cementing itself as a breakout indie hit on consoles and PCs, Vampire Survivors has decided to "stake" its claim on the mobile market. It did require a sacrificial offering to bring the supernatural bullet hell shoot-'em-up to mobile devices, though. This is most noticeable with the mobile version's default virtual joystick. Sliding your thumb around the touchscreen isn't nearly as responsive as using a physical joystick of some kind. Plus, you'll frequently find yourself unintentionally covering part of the action as you move, which cuts into your awareness of the surroundings on an already smaller screen. The mobile version does have the option to switch the game to either a portrait or landscape orientation to make it more comfortable to play. Finally, the mobile version of Vampire Survivors is completely free to play. While there are ads, they're completely optional and not intrusive in any way. Instead, players can watch a short ad to revive their character once per run or to add a small gold bonus to their coffers at the end of a round. With this virtually nonexistent cost of entry, there's not much of a reason to at least try out the mobile version of Vampire Survivors regardless of whether you're new to the Vampire Survivors experience or a returning survivor from the console/PC version of the monster hunting phenomenon.