The latest RPS Advent Calendar 2022, December 24

We’ve reached the very last day of our RPS Advent Calendar for this year! This means that behind this door is our real game of the year. The most GOTY goat for 2022. Unfortunately behind the door there are also a lot of bats, ghosts, zombies, oh man that looks like a giant praying mantis I think? How the hell are we going to get through all of this?

By become bullet hell, assholes! Our 2022 game of the year is vampire survivors!

Liam has converted this year’s advent calendar picks to video. What a time to live!

Ed: Hey Vampire Survivors, a perfectly sized video game that can be consumed any way you want! In a quick bite before dropping the kids off at the panto, a long session or in the corner of the library after school. The object of the game is simple: you control a small person who periodically self-attacks, and you must keep him out of harm’s way for as long as you can. “Harm” being slimy ghouls and legions of bats that trade for huge mantis lords and colossal minotaurs as time goes by.

As you slash through enemies with an axe, you’ll suck up gems that give you EXP and cash for the bank. And with EXP comes Tiers, which give you a choice of power-ups. Will you accept the garlic that gives you an evil aura? The magic wand ? The dove that for some reason is the equivalent of a Call Of Duty Harrier? These attacks stack, and eventually you’ll combine them too, so those puny axes might turn into a circle of scythes or your fireballs into full-fledged meteor strikes.

Any money you earn before succumbing to the mud can be spent on permanent upgrades, making your runs a little easier and even more varied. There are also lots of different levels and characters to choose from, my favorites being the cursed library which is basically a long tunnel and a shark that throws cherry bombs. Seriously, it’s wonderful that poncle has brought us such a rich game that only requires as much time as you want.

A colorful mess of explosions obscuring the screen in a screenshot from Vampire Survivors.

A frantic battle with enemy plants in Vampire Survivors

A colorful explosion of violence in a screenshot from Vampire Survivors.

A warrior is surrounded by monsters in a library in Vampire Survivors

Alice0: Vampire Survivors was one of my favorite early access experiences. After going through the initial burst of unlocks and violence, every fortnight or so I would be called back to discover a new character or level or secret or something. Nice. What a pleasant eleven months of gentle strolls in obscene ultra-violence.

Ollie: Vampire Survivors might not hold a special place in everyone’s hearts, but it’s undeniably a special game. Of course, it’s basically a fidget spinner. I told my colleagues during an intense debate on Slack about which game should be the game of the year – this one or Elden Ring. But it’s a fidget spinner that makes you cry “oh, now what’s that?” every 30 seconds to legions of werewolves feasting on your personal space. This makes it the better fidget spinner.

Also, I can play it while petting my cat. So it’s a worthy game of the year.

Liam: Does Elden Ring allow you to combine garlic and multiple copies of the New Testament to create an impenetrable force field that melts skeletons? I did not mean it. GOTY.

Hellish bullet hell in a screenshot from Vampire Survivors.

Rachel: I can’t stop playing this game. It’s taken over my life. The feeling of slicing through hordes of monsters like a hot knife through butter is a high I can’t help but chase after.

Alice Bee: As I told Ollie during said polite chat, fidget spinners actually serve a very important function for a lot of people. The metaphor doesn’t go very far, as fidget spinners don’t cause lightning to hit the ground or exhaust carnivorous plants every 3.2 seconds or so. Vampire Survivors offers a lot of fun and creativity and a perfect experience balancing, at most, half an hour.

I was already on the BATSBATSBATS team, but I think what really tipped the vote was when Graham, whom he RPS in peace, put his thumb on the scales by appearing in our chat as the ghost of Banquo and highlighting that Vampire Survivors reinvigorated a genre and brought to public consciousness. “In that respect,” he said, “it’s Dark Souls 2022 video games, whereas Elden Ring is just Dark Souls 3 2022 video games.” (Except he wrote “video games”, because he is one of those people). That’s absolutely correct, of course. But I mainly voted for Vampire Survivors because it’s really very funny.

Katherine: I haven’t survived a game of Vampire Survivors yet, but any game that lets you play as an old man whose primary mode of attack is an impenetrable wall of garlic breath surely deserves the most coveted GOTY crown. I love you Poe.

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