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The best Xbox Game Pass game costs less than the monthly subscription

^Stay tuned for Jim’s video essay on the genius of Vampire Survivors.

Tease along the edge of the mob, moving in concentric circles to maximize the area of ​​your garlic aura’s damage zone. An instinctive, brushing motion. Methodically scrub the world’s arcane horrors as you would remove coffee stains from tooth enamel. Since the mobile release, both rituals are performed at the same time, on opposite sides of bedtime. The life of one Vampire survivors Enjoyer is essentially spiritual.

And once it sinks in, it rarely leaves your mind. I’m reminded of that summer long ago when me and my childhood best friend whose name I can’t remember became obsessed with the then-newly released WipeOut 2097 on the PS1, playing religiously all through the school holidays. We rinsed it until we’d unlocked the Piranha, developed a lifelong love for The Prodigy, and conditioned ourselves to expect the family car to get a speed boost every time it goes over a road marker, just like the speed pads in the game. Now, every time I close my eyes, I see orbs of experience floating in the little whip man, swirling like a galaxy in his checkered chest.

Give me the ORBS

Vampire Survivors is timeless in both directions. It could have been an Amiga game (it honestly would have been the best Amiga game by some distance). And yet there’s something intrinsic about belonging to the 2020s – a brutality, perhaps. A combination of its crazy horror, dissatisfied writing and being a spiritual embodiment of the meme about wanting shorter games, with poorer graphics, made by people who are well compensated for their time (you hope).

Wipeout 2097 similarly got its claws into me, but I was a kid at the time and therefore had an excuse.

It does so much with so little, it almost makes big games, with huge budgets, teams in the thousands, and development creeps in decades rather than years – games I absolutely love, to be clear – seem a little bit crazy? Folly? Unnecessary hassle? Because the inescapable truth is that, for all the time and money that went into reducing Kratos to individual skin follicles, or recreating all of Ptolemaic Egypt as an elaborate playground for stabbing men, or whatever absurd technological marvel you can think of Considering that an AAA studio has put untold effort and treasure into it, those games rarely have moments that feel as good as getting a five-item chest in this silly little roguelike that doesn’t even have an attack button.

When Vampire Survivors starts to feel less like a video game and more like an MPEG glitch, things get really good.

To someone who loves those big, spectacular games, is obsessed with them, considers them almost the jewels of the medium, Vampire Survivors is a travesty. An insult. A thumbed nose and raspberry on a very high percentage of the things I love. And for someone who’s middle-aged and now starting to struggle with the idea of ​​ceasing to be, Vampire Survivors is abruptly on the nose about the inevitability of He coming to take you away. How to make the right choices and have the happiest run, and yet you have to succumb in the end.

It might just be the greatest game of all time. Ugh.

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