- Know your enemies – Understanding how each enemy behaves and the differences between their variants is key to surviving in Vampire Survivors.
- Prioritize crowd control weapons – Start with crowd control weapons early to handle larger enemy swarms that appear around the 12-minute mark.
- Unlock content early – To increase your chances of survival, unlock new characters, weapons, and passive items with every run and experiment with different combinations for better odds of success.
The main goal of the game Vampire Survivors is to survive for 30 minutes. Players pick a character, a stage, and then try to keep that character alive as enemies rush the player in ever-growing numbers and difficulty. As the player kills thousands of enemy creatures and increases their character’s level, new weapons and accessories will be acquired. Picking the right load-out is important if the player wishes to see the 30-minute mark.
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There are other factors that a player must consider if they want to get to the end of the stage in one piece. This indie title’s gameplay loop can get overwhelming quickly, especially since the game has quite a bit of depth to it. Vampire Survivors beginners might have a hard time staying alive for the full 30 minutes.
Updated January 16th, 2024, by Jeff Drake: Vampire Survivors can be frustratingly difficult; this is doubly true for beginning players. New players will not have the benefit of the global Power-ups and will be limited in their choice of characters and weapons. As content gets unlocked over time, the difficulty curve of Vampire Survivors begins to flatten. Players just starting this game should keep the helpful hints in mind, at least at first. Think of these Vampire Survivors tips like a set of training wheels; use them until comfortable, then forge a path towards survival.
1 Know Your Enemy
Learning What To Expect When A New Enemy Type Appears Is Key To Survival
There is an impressive number of enemy units the player can encounter in the various stages of Vampire Survivors. Many are simple palette swaps or enlarged versions of weaker monsters. It’s important to know how each enemy unit behaves, as well as the difference between the enemy variants.
One prime example of this is the skeleton. The gray-colored skeletons are easily defeated; however, the red skeletons, which are also easy to defeat, rise and continue to fight a few seconds after being defeated. Some enemy units travel in irregular patterns; some have distance weapons. It helps to know what to expect from an enemy type as soon as they appear onscreen.
2 Prioritize Crowd Control Weapons Early
Enemy Swarms Get Larger – Be Prepared
Point defense weapons, like the Magic Wand, are great supplemental weapons; they are perfect for dealing with the odd enemy that slips through the weapons designed for crowd control. Waiting until the enemy swarms get larger and stronger to get a crowd control weapon might be too late. Remember, crowd control weapons are typically very weak at low level. So, allow time to get it a few levels before the ten-minute mark.
Starting a character’s load-out with two crowd control weapons and a point defense weapon provides a solid base and will allow the character to survive the larger enemies that begin around the 12-minute mark. The Santa Water, King Bible, and Spell String weapons are an effective starting trio.
3 Watch Your Life Bar
Maintaining Max Hit Points Is Important
There’s no lack of eye candy in Vampire Survivors. With the weapon effects, arcana effects, and swarms of ever-changing enemies, it becomes difficult to focus on one thing for more than half a second. One thing players should force themselves to glance at from time to time is their character’s life bar.
There will be times when, after checking your life bar, you realize the character is near death. When having to run through a mass of enemy units, it pays to focus on the life bar. A single enemy won’t do too much damage, but when being swarmed, any character’s hit points can be dropped to zero instantly.
Vampire Survivors: All Unlocks
This guide has full detail on all of the characters, weapons, accessories, and stages that players can unlock in Vampire Survivors.
4 Start Unlocking Content Early
Grow The Character And Weapon Pools For Better Odds Of Survival
After the first few runs have been lost and players finally get a feel for the game, the next step should be making sure new content is being unlocked with every run. At the very least, use runs to get closer to unlocking content that will require multiple runs, like defeating a required number of enemies.
Most of the content in the game needs to be unlocked, including a lot of powerful characters and weapons. It’s best to start early. Don’t waste those early runs using the same character, with the same weapons and passive items, on the same stage. Check to see what can be unlocked easily on the next run, and select a character build based on that.
5 Don’t Be Afraid To Experiment
Weapon Combinations Don’t Always Work As Planned
Now that a large portion of the game’s content has been unlocked, it’s time to start experimenting with different combinations of character, weapons, passive items, and arcanas. Some weapon combinations seem more powerful than the sum of their parts would indicate.
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Some characters can exploit the abilities of weapons and arcanas; for example, Poe with the Blood Astronomia arcana and Garlic. Part of this game’s charm lies in the variety of options given to the player and the replay value that stems from all the different possible combinations.
6 Get The Most Out Of The Candyboxes
Pick Any Weapon With This Rare Item
The Candybox is one of the best weapons in the game. The reason is simple: the Candybox becomes any standard weapon of the player’s choice when it’s obtained. There is also the Super Candybox II Turbo, which grants any evolved weapon of the player’s choice.
These can be given in treasure chests in place of coin bags. This means, to have a chance of this happening the player needs to have gotten all weapons and passive items to max level (and evolution). Getting these two weapons in this way allows for more than six weapons. Lastly, if the player buys the Candybox or gets it when leveling up, they cannot get it from a treasure chest later.
7 Maximize Rerolls
Use Rerolls To Get Required Passive Items
One of the many power-ups the player can spend their gold to unlock is Reroll. This increases the number of times the weapon and item selection can be rerolled, giving a new list of weapons and items from which to choose. This is one of the most useful tools at the player’s disposal.
Rerolls are especially useful early in the game when specific weapons are desired to unlock content. This power-up can be purchased five times, giving ten additional rerolls. Unlocking this power-up (and additional levels for it) requires getting certain characters to level 80 during a run:
- Yatta Cavallo
- Bianca Ramba
- O’Sole Meeo
- Sir Ambrojoe
8 Use A Controller
Controller > Keyboard
Players can use the keyboard or mouse to move the character, and there is an entry below about which is better. However, players who want the best chance of surviving a run should use a game controller. This gives the player a superior level of control.
Fortunately, PC-compatible generic game controllers are super cheap, and most are compatible with Vampire Survivors. Players can also use an old Xbox 360 controller, which is certainly better than the average generic controller.
9 Stage Difficulty Varies
The Difficulty Of The Stages Varies – Be Prepared For The Challenge
Not all stages in Vampire Survivors are equally challenging. Some are more difficult to survive than others. Keep this in mind when selecting their characters and play options. Some weapons also work much better in some stages than in others. A good example is the Knife. Stages with narrow passages (like Mt. Moonspell) allow more efficient use of more precise weapons, like the Knife or Whip.
Some stages have features that will make playing more difficult. The Bone Zone, for example, only gives Gold Coins and Money Bags for pick-up items. The Bone Zone also incrementally increases enemy speed and health over time.
10 Make The Occasional Gold Rush Run
Gold Becomes More Useful Over Time
Money wasn’t needed much in the early beta version of Vampire Survivors. The only thing to purchase was new characters, and these didn’t cost much. This left players with a mountain of gold coins and nothing on which to spend them. This has changed with the introduction of two features: the merchant and Golden Eggs.
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Golden Eggs can be obtained for free by defeating the guardians of the Metaglio and Ring stage items. However, the easiest way is to buy them from the merchant near the starting point of most stages. These are expensive, and a player can quickly exhaust their horde of gold coins in no time. Players should make a Gold Rush run on occasion to keep their gold reserves from dwindling. The best stages for this are Mt. Moonspell and Bone Zone using Hyper Inverse Modes. Lastly, use Big Trouser with the Disco of Gold arcana and the Greatest Jubilee weapon.
11 Weapon Limit
Fewer Weapons IS Ideal For Limit-Breaking Runs
One of the newest features in Vampire Survivors is the ability to limit break weapons. Many players overlook the option to limit the number of weapon slots for a run. This allows players to push weapons beyond their normal limits. Not all weapons benefit from limit breaking equally. When limit breaking is activated, the player must fully level all items and weapons before they can begin limit breaking their weapons.
By limiting the number of weapons, players can begin limit breaking their weapons much sooner. Care needs to be taken when selecting weapons with limited slots available, though. Some weapons, like Santa Water and King Bible, can carry a player through a run by itself, whereas weapons like Garlic and Knife cannot, no matter how much they are limit broken. Weapons that don’t scale with many stat changes, like the Pentagram, are only marginally improved via limit breaking.
12 Keep Track Of Collectibles
A Useful Checklist For The Game’s Weapons And Passive Items
At the title screen, there is a “Collections” tab. This takes the player to their collection, which is a list of every weapon, passive item, arcana, pick-up item, and relic the player has acquired. It pays to check this occasionally to see if there’s a part of the collection (or parts) that can be filled in during the next run.
The Unlocks tab is another area to check every time the game is started. Vampire Survivors is always getting new content, so it’s entirely possible there is new content to unlock each time a player starts the game. Unlocking content adds new layers of enjoyability to this game.
13 Unlock The Merchant
The Merchant Sells Golden Eggs And Rare Weapons
The game’s merchant needs to be unlocked before it will appear. The merchant will sell the player some of the rarer weapons in the game, as well as an additional arcana — the extra arcana is a bit expensive (20,000 gold). The merchant also sells Golden Eggs, which permanently improve one of the character’s stats.
Beginner players should unlock the merchant as soon as possible. Another thing to remember is that the merchant can only be visited once per run. Players should use the merchant if they are having trouble surviving a run and still have an open weapon slot.
14 Torrona’s Box
The Best Passive Item In The Game
One of the best passive items in the game is arguably Torrona’s Box. This item increases the Area, Duration, Might, and (projectile) Speed of all weapons. The problem is that when it reaches level nine, it increases enemies’ frequency, health, quantity, and (movement) speed.
Vampire Survivors: The 20 Best Weapon Combinations
Vampire Survivors has plenty of weapons, along with a variety of evolutions. The following are some of the best weapon combinations in the game.
A strategy to avoid this curse is to banish the item before it reaches level nine. If Banished at level eight, the player retains all the benefits of the item but none of the curse. Players should be careful collecting treasure chests when doing this, as they might accidentally raise Torrona’s Box to level nine.
15 Alternate Game Modes
Know How These Affect The Game
As a player progresses, they will begin to unlock new game modes. Hyper Mode must be unlocked individually for each stage, but when the other game modes are unlocked, it affects all stages. One of the first of these a player will be able to use is Hyper Mode. This mode increases the MoveSpeed and projectile speed. Each stage might also have additional modifiers while in Hyper Mode.
Hurry Mode doubles the speed of the clock. Inverse Mode greatly increases enemy strength. Endless Mode removes Death’s appearance at the 30-minute mark and causes the enemies to appear again, slightly stronger, as if starting the stage from the beginning.
16 Have A Plan
Random Builds Are Rarely Better Than Planned Builds
Before starting a stage, it helps if the player decides on a few weapons to try and get during the run. Don’t be afraid to use some Rerolls, Skips, and Banishes to avoid being forced to pick a weapon or passive item that isn’t needed. Knowing what passive items work with which weapons helps, too, and will optimize the build.
Picking weapons and passive items without a loose build in mind is the leading cause of failing to finish a stage. Trying to finish a stage by picking weapons and items at random is fun but not a very good way to unlock new content.
17 Hyper Mode
A Faster-Paced Game Mode
It sounds daunting, but the Hyper Mode in Vampire Survivors isn’t really more difficult. In many ways, it’s easier than the standard mode. The increased speed of the player and the enemies allows the player to level up quite a bit faster. It’s not uncommon to have all weapons and accessories fully leveled and (mostly) evolved by the 15-minute mark.
Beginners might want to wait until they’ve purchased a few of the Power-ups. Having access to the better unlockable characters, like Poppea, Christine, Cavallo, and Dommario will also give a greater chance of surviving Hyper Mode.
18 Using Pick-up Items
Bonuses From Light Sources
When the light sources are destroyed, they drop pick-up items. This is almost always a gold coin, though sometimes the player is given one of the rarer pick-up items. The three the player should learn to identify quickly are the Rosary, Vacuum, and Nduja Fritta Tanto. The Orologion is also useful at times. The Vacuum pulls in all experience gems on the ground. Keep this at the corner of the screen and allow gems to accumulate for a few minutes before picking this up.
The Rosary kills all enemies onscreen, including bosses. Save these for when a boss is onscreen for an easy treasure chest. The Nduja Fritta Tanto acts as a flamethrower; again, save this for when a boss appears. A higher Luck gives the player a better chance at the rarer pick-up items.
19 Treasure Chests
Learn How To Get The Most Out Of Treasure Chests
Treasure chests increase the level of one (or more) of the character’s weapons and accessories. They are also used to evolve a weapon when it meets the requirements. Not all treasure chests evolve weapons, though. Chest dropped before the 10-minute mark will not evolve weapons; there are a few exceptions. All chests in the Dairy Plant and Il Molise can evolve weapons, and the first boss in Mad Forest drops a chest that can evolve a weapon.
Vampire Survivors: All The Arcanas, Ranked
The Arcanas are a new game mechanic to Vampire Survivors that adds a little variation to the game
If Arcanas are turned on, the chests dropped at 11:00 and 21:00 will give the player another Arcana selection. Lastly, a higher Luck gives a greater chance of a higher tier treasure chest, which improves more items than normal.
Rule Changing Cards
Arcanas allow the player to alter various aspects of the game. The player can select one Arcana, represented by cards, at the start of the stage. Two more Arcanas are given to the player over the course of the stage, but for these, the player picks one from a group of three that are randomly selected.
When certain Arcanas are grouped together, the combination is absolutely overpowered. Players should focus on unlocking the Awake Arcana first. This gives three Revives, and the use of Revives increases Might, Duration, Area, Max Health, Speed, and Armor. Using this Arcana makes unlocking the others a lot easier.