Is “survivors” distinct sufficient from “survival” to be the identify of a wholly completely different style? I am undecided, however we’re nearly actually within the midst of a mini style increase of Vampire Survivors-likes, our favourite roguelike of 2022 and the game of the yr most certainly to spawn waves of imitators within the close to future. It is already began occurring in 2022, regardless of Vampire Survivors launching in quiet, unfinished early entry type barely a yr in the past. 

Gaming’s Time to Copycat quotient is at an all-time excessive. When MMOs after which MOBAs have been all the fad, it took years for shallow knock-offs of WoW and League of Legends to crop up, and years extra for them to turn out to be so oversaturated that there was room for nothing left however bombs. In 2017, it took Fortnite solely six months to pivot to battle royale to piggyback off PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds’ success and encourage an entire slew of battle royales; in early 2019, Dota Auto Chess obtained copycats from Valve and Riot simply 5 months later. 

That felt preposterous a number of years in the past, nevertheless it’s regular now—simply have a look at what number of Wordle clones got here out this yr. What feels prefer it’s modified, over time, is the size of game that may snap the entire trade’s head round, greenback indicators in its eyes. It used to take a Gears of Battle or PUBG to encourage a style sea change; now it may be one thing like Vampire Survivors, which price $2.99 and was only a passion venture for developer Poncle till it unexpectedly blew up. (In basic style trendsetter style, Vampire Survivors popularized, somewhat than invented, the mechanics of an earlier cell game referred to as Magic Survival).

The tempo of recent style huge bangs could imply they go extinct extra shortly than ever earlier than, too—maybe we do not want a reputation for video games like Vampire Survivors, if no clones handle to stay round. However this dialogue on ResetEra consists of some robust contenders: 

  • Idle Shooter – Honors the roots of browser idle video games like Cookie Clicker
  • Single Stick Shooter – A transparent twist on the popularized twin-stick shooter
  • Auto Shooter – Barely broad, however improved mightily by Jeff Gerstmann’s suggestion of Auto Shooter Survival, or ASS video games
  • Bullet heaven – A chic twist on the basic shmup “bullet hell,” besides this time it is your enemies which can be in hell

Bullet heaven will get my vote, however ASS video games is a detailed second. No matter we name them, listed below are among the heavenly ASS video games that got here out in 2022. Odds are good we’ll see many extra in 2023. 

Soulstone Survivors 

First launch: August (Prologue) | Worth: $10

This game was not shy about its origins: the primary press launch electronic mail I obtained for it was titled “Move Over, Vampire Survivors!”

I don’t assume Vampire Survivors has moved over, however Soulstone Survivors has achieved effectively for itself on Steam nonetheless, choosing up greater than 7,000 opinions to date in early entry. (My favourite is “Execs: Low cost cocaine. Cons: Wants extra game.” The highest-down 3D graphics give it fairly a distinct look from VS’s pixel artwork, and it is arduous to observe a video or learn a blurb about this game with out seeing somebody reward the sheer quantity and number of its expertise or power-ups or no matter you wish to name them. That is undoubtedly a maximalist style, and Soulstone Survivors is aware of it.

Holocure: Save the Followers 

First launch: June | Worth: Free

A free fan game with some pedigree: River Metropolis Ladies sprite animator Kay Yu is behind this venture, which blends Vampire Survivors with the VTubers of Hololive. I watch loads of anime but I don’t perceive the attraction of VTubers in any respect, however I do perceive the attraction of upbeat chiptune music, which Save the Followers positive has. Even when you do not get the references to Hololive, Save the Followers nonetheless hits the identical pleasure heart as Vampire Survivors, packing tons of enemies onto the display screen after which inundating you with injury numbers while you blast them to items. 

Boneraiser Minions 

First launch: August | Worth: $5

Props for not blatantly utilizing “Survival” within the identify right here, and for the 8-bit neon artwork—this game has type. Boneraiser Minions distinguishes itself a bit with some distinct game modes, like one that allows you to place traps earlier than a spherical. That additional protection part makes loads of sense for a style that owes rather a lot to Gears of Battle 2’s well-known Horde mode. There’s additionally a card-based minigame that appears to be primarily based on Last Fantasy 9’s Tetra Grasp, which is extraordinarily my jam. As standard there’s heaps of stuff to unlock and plenty of enemies to kill, although the display screen does not get fairly as ludicrously dense as Vampire Survivors.

Bounty of One 

First launch: August | Worth: $5

Bounty of One has two huge issues going for it in comparison with different bullet heavens. First there’s the Wild West theme, which is extra enjoyable than vampires. There are little goblin guys who assault you, however they’re carrying bandanas and cowboy hats—objectively funnier. There are additionally cactus males carrying old-timey suspenders and boot spur throwing stars, two extra wonderful decisions. The second huge factor, although, is assist for as much as 4-player co-op. It is solely native, sadly (except you utilize Steam’s Distant Play Collectively) however possibly full on-line assist will come down the dusty path, as Bounty of One continues to be in early entry.

Challenge Lazarus 

First launch: June | Worth: $5

What if bullet heaven, however you are in a mech? That is just about the pitch in Challenge Lazarus, with completely different management schemes for various mech sorts and piles of 3D enemies to laser to bits. With the ability to goal and move independently with sure mechs could also be a violation of the sacred single stick code of auto shooters. (Is {that a} code? In all probability not; I simply made that up). To my eye Lazarus’s artwork has an actual generic Unity asset retailer look, however Steam opinions are general very optimistic.


First launch: September | Worth: $5

Considerably inexplicably one of the standard ASS video games on Steam, you management a potato (named Brotato) in an artwork type closely paying homage to Binding of Isaac. It additionally contains a guide aiming choice. Reviewers name out a harsher studying curve right here than in related video games, however way more construct depth than you’d anticipate from a small game starring a potato that truly appears to be like extra like an egg.

Military of Destroy 

First launch: October | Worth: $4

This one’s actually fairly, with an artwork type that jogs my memory of Dungeon Defenders or the fashionable Ghosts ‘n’ Goblins video games. The enemies seem like colourful candies and I type of wish to eat them. These builders have some expertise with making snappy roguelites: they beforehand developed the FPSes Ziggurat and Ziggurat 2, which have been fairly well-received. 

Rogue: Genesia 

First launch: September | Worth: $5

Rogue: Genesia pairs the standard Vampire Survivors components with a number of phases to progress via with particular challenges and a map that pulls straight from Slay the Spire. That development, in comparison with the standard “see how lengthy you may survive” timer, appears to be the large draw.

20 Minutes Until Daybreak 

First launch: June | Worth: $5

A really distinct pixel artwork aesthetic right here, with a properly restricted colour palette that makes bullets actually pop. It is one other instance that strays from the “idle shooter” design of Vampire Survivors by requiring you to goal (and even, gasp, reload) however the core attraction of upgrades and progressively increasingly more overpowered builds stays. There are a bunch of characters with completely different talents to pick, who will also be paired with a variety of weapons earlier than you even get into upgrades. 

Spellbook Demonslayers 

First launch: November | Worth: $3

Described by one Steam reviewer as “a quicker, extra chaotic, extra aggressive, extra forgiving model of Vampire Survivors.” There’s loads of reward for the soundtrack and the flexibleness of its difficulty choices. There are modifiers you may activate and off to tweak issues to your liking—and in addition a pace slider, if you wish to dial in your individual turbo mode.

Tiny Rogues 

First launch: September | Worth: $6

Like Boneraiser Minions, Tiny Rogues is distinctly much more retro than a few of these different pixel artwork roguelites, with a CRT filter and a few Robotron-ass graphics. It will be unfair to name Tiny Rogues a Vampire Survivors clone, to be trustworthy—I am simply together with it right here as a result of it is clearly driving the wave of micro roguelites, and with 98% overwhelmingly optimistic opinions on Steam as of this writing, it is clearly doing one thing right. You may see some basic bullet hell stuff right here and related character upgrades, however inside a extra conventional dungeon crawler construction, full with gentle RPG stats. You may move between rooms, choose up keys, battle bosses, yada yada.

And the horde but grows 

Consider it or not, that is not all of them—there are but extra Vampire Survivors-a-likes. Listed here are 15 that I did not spend as a lot time trying into. One among them is perhaps the precise taste of ASS you are on the lookout for. 

  • Nomad Survival
  • Spirit Hunters: Infinite Horde
  • Nordic Ashes: Survivors of Ragnarok
  • Crimson Daybreak
  • Her Identify Was Hearth
  • Chess Survivors
  • Void Scrappers
  • Mutagenic
  • Robotic Resistors
  • Simply King
  • Stunning Mystic Survivors
  • Pixel Survivors
  • Chrono Survival
  • Biters & Bullets (upcoming, however has a demo)
  • Star Survivor (upcoming, however has a demo)