I’ve gotten addicted to an itch.io game called Vampire Survivors.
Vampire Survivors is an endless sprite-based roguelike with Castlevania vibes. The core of the game is moving your character around a large square map as a growing number of enemies slowly close in around them. Every few seconds, your character will make an attack. When you kill enemies, they have a chance to drop a small blue crystal. Picking up these crystals fills a level-up bar, and each level-up nets you fresh offensive or defensive upgrades.
Like any roguelike, the goal is to see how long you can survive before the mob finally takes you down. What begins as a slow-paced wander around a field with a whip rapidly becomes a frantic sprint to stay ahead of a screen-filling mob.
There’s barely any brainpower required. It’s controlled entirely with the arrow keys. All you have to do is move your character around. No thoughts, only devil chopping. Every time you effortlessly carve a path through a giant swarm of bats provides another pleasurable jolt of the good brain juices.
That simplicity, that lack of needing to think too hard about what I’m doing, is a big part of why I can’t stop playing it, and it’s becoming a problem. It’s too easy to open and noodle around on. You become a thrall to it. Hours drop off the clock and you can’t account for your whereabouts.
Vampire Survivors is so good that it’s eating into my leisure time and my weekends. A healthy person would try to spend time away from the games they spend their week talking and thinking about. Clearly, I am not that person, because I can feel it calling to me even now. I could go outside. I could go for a hike or to the gym. Do literally anything to avoid staring at a screen. I deleted the bookmark in the vain hope it might curb the cravings.
“One more run,” I mutter to myself, typing in the URL from memory. “One more run and then I’ll actually go and live my life.”
The game is free to play on Itch if you’re feeling adventurous. You can get it on Steam and other platforms too.
Just be careful. You might become a thrall to it too.