Thank you Gamecraft Studios for sending us an Early Access preview code!
Vampire Hunters is an over-the-top first person shooter/rogue-like mashup. In order to survive against hordes of demons, werewolves, wraiths, vampires and the like, you’ll need to have lots and lots of guns. Vampire Hunters delivers with the ability to wield up to fourteen weapons simultaneously. Weapons are classified as primary, secondary, and passive. You can only have a couple of secondary and passive weapons, but there are plenty of options available.
Currently there are two game modes with the default being Survival Mode. As of this preview, there is one level available, which is called Village Yard. In this mode, your goal is to survive as long as possible. There are Steam achievements for lasting ten, fifteen, twenty, and forty-five minutes in this mode. So far, there are one hundred and twenty four Steam achievements available in this title.
When you launch a Survival game, your first task is to select a character. For some reason weapons are called characters in this game. The weapons have perks like increased fire rate, max health, armor, damage and so on. As you level up the weapons by using them, you’ll unlock more perks for them. In the beginning you’ll only have access to the submachine gun, flame thrower, and rocket launcher. Other weapons will become available as you level up and beat bosses.
I like how the game auto fires and reloads your weapons for you. You just need to focus on mowing down the enemies. I prefer to start off with weapons that have a lot of ammo like miniguns, machine guns, and flamethrowers. Even though rocket launchers are powerful they don’t have much ammo and take time to reload so they’re a little more challenging to wield. Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to collect enough souls to give you a choice of random goodies to select from. Souls are randomly dropped by enemies and after an increasing threshold is met, they trigger the option to get more gear.
Since you can only make one weapons/upgrade selection the choices are often difficult. Typically you’ll have the option to upgrade an existing item, but in the beginning you may want to focus on adding more firepower. It’s nice to combine long range weapons and ones that are good against foes that are close by. There are various relics that can boost stats like your maximum health, firepower, speed, and ammo capacity. Selecting primary and secondary weapons is hard, but to make the decision easier you’ll get to see the weapon's stats including damage per second, ammo capacity and reload times. The passive familiars are helpful in fighting alongside you. You can have a thunder cloud, frog, raven, or a cat by your side. The cat can bring back random things like health which is helpful. The phoenix is useful and lets you revive once during a run. Leveling up the phoenix gives you more health to resurrect with. I haven't noticed the phoenix in Classic mode, in exchange, it has a horde of rats that can attack ground based foes.
Occasionally a health potion or treasure chest will appear. Be sure to grab the treasure chests quickly as they will disappear after a bit. Health potions are few and far between so make sure to take note of them and use them when they’re available.
In the beginning you’ll see naked (but not sexualized) zombie-like creatures that go down pretty easy. In swarms they’re really deadly so be sure to keep them in check. It won’t take long for fat zombie-like creatures to appear and these monsters are bullet sponges and take a lot of damage before meeting their maker. The longer you manage to stay alive, the more challenging enemies will spawn. Werewolves spawn at regular intervals so be on the lookout for them. Red or green blood mists appear when shooting enemies and you collect their blood to trigger a blood frenzy even where you do more damage than normal.
Despite dying, it’s never in vain as you’ll level your character and guns in the process. You’ll also collect red coins which can be used to permanently increase various stats to make future runs a little easier. You can increase your starting health, damage radius, health regeneration, speed, armor and so forth.
The Classic mode stats are completely separate than those in the Survival mode. The weapons carry over, but many of the relics have different abilities. In the Classic mode, there are multiple relics that leach the life of your enemies and I HIGHLY recommend buying those whenever they become available.
Souls are still required to trigger equipment purchase events, but you have to buy the items available with gold dropped from enemies. The advantage here is that you can buy more than one item at a time as long as you have the funds available. One disadvantage in this mode is that not all of the weapon slots are available right away and you have to get further in the level to equip everything.
There are five levels in the Classic mode and you have to play them in order. For the most part, they are long corridors but some of them give you different paths to take. Following you is a deadly blue fog that will kill you if you dally so you have to keep moving to stay alive.
Constellations are available in both game modes and they drastically alter the gameplay to often make it more challenging. One of the first constellations I unlocked was one that made all weapons available in the store identical to your starting weapon. Another constellation mixes up the bonus attributes. There are Steam achievements available for using the constellations.
I have played Vampire Hunters on my gaming desktop and on my Steam Deck. It runs well on the Steam Deck but requires multiple screen taps to maneuver the interface intended for a mouse. It's still very playable and runs well on the Steam Deck.
While I enjoy both modes, I have gotten much further in the Classic mode as I was able to defeat multiple bosses. I have yet to survive long enough to see a boss in the Survival mode. I still have fun trying though. My definition of a fun game is one that you can still enjoy playing even if you’re not good at it. I’m certainly not a risk of dethroning anyone on the online leaderboards. I look forward to watching how this game progresses in the Early Access and checking it out again after it full releases. I wonder if they will make some of the enemies less bullet spongey.