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Vampire Survivors – Tides of the Foscari Review

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Oh dear. It has bitten me again. Just when I had managed to go cold turkey and wean myself off Vampire Survivors, the developers at poncle have only gone and released some more DLC to make sure that my inevitable relapse is even more crushing. It is no good, there is no fighting it, the call of Vampire Survivors is just too damn strong.

Save yourself, dear reader. Learn from my mistakes. Like installing it on my phone as well as my Xbox, and anywhere else I could get a fix… That was a definite error of judgment. 

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Still here? Good. Once you embrace the fact that Vampire Survivors is going to take over your life (it is actually playing in the background as I type this review, as I’m working on getting some of the new achievements), then it is like slipping into a nice warm bath – relaxing and ultimately just a lovely place to be. But why have we gone back? Well, that’s the fault of the Tides of the Foscari DLC

As we all know by now, Vampire Survivors is a very simple game with a very simple premise at its core-  stay alive!

You have a variety of different characters to choose from, all of whom have their own starting weapon, and then you go into battle against against hordes of enemies. And I when I say hordes, I mean hordes for there are a couple of achievements tied to getting 100,000 kills in a run, and they are pretty straightforward once you get a decent build going). Performing certain feats with specific characters will unlock new ones, and thus is the roster expanded. It sounds very easy to explain, and it is, but what is impossible to put into words is the draw of playing this game; the sheer joy you get from mowing down armies of the undead in new and exciting ways. 

Building a character, getting through to minute 31 without using Endless Mode, seeing the new weapons all come together to turn you into a monster mincing machine – these are the moments in which Vampire Survivors excels. And while there are bigger and flashier games out there, this goes to show that with the right gameplay, any game can be truly great. 

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Presentation of the new Vampire Survivors: Tides of the Foscari DLC is exactly the same as the base game and the last DLC, that of Legacy of the Moonspell, sitting very firmly on the retro end of the scale. The characters come across as cute piles of pixels with a lot of personality shoehorned in, the stages are simple in design but hold a surprising amount of depth; large, feature rich and complete with a good amount of hidden stuff to collect. So far, so good, and while the DLC doesn’t change the overall presentation of the game (which is a good thing). it does add more. What does it add, I hear you ask? Well, I’ll tell you!

First of all, Tides of the Foscari adds two new maps – Lake Foscari and The Abyss. You have to do a certain thing on the Lake Foscari map to unlock access to The Abyss, and while it isn’t tricky, I’m not going to tell you what it is – the fun in Vampire Survivors is most definitely in figuring things out. The DLC also adds more new characters, of which only one, Eleanor, is available at the beginning. The rest are unlocked by, again, performing certain tasks with certain characters. Again, I’m not going to tell you what these conditions are. Think how satisfying it would be to work it out for yourself. One new feature that I do like though is that certain new characters get set rewards at certain levels, so at level 10, Eleanor will receive a new weapon, for instance; having this certainty means you don’t end up relying on blind luck quite so much. 

New weapons? Yes, there are those to discover and learn to use too, and all in all it very much feels that Tides of the Foscari is just an expansion of what has gone before, but with the difficulty cranked up a bit. The new maps, for instance, build on the legacy of Mount Moonspell from the last DLC, and are not only huge, but also have plenty of hidden places to try and find. There’s even a hedge maze type area that is fun when every path is full of monsters, believe me!

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So here I am, addicted again and struggling to think of any downsides to Vampire Survivors: Tides of the Foscari. In fact, the only loss is going to be that of your spare time. It has lots of new characters to try out, two big maps to explore, and a few new weapons to take for a test drive. 

It goes without saying that if you liked the original Vampire Survivors (and pretty much everyone who has played it probably does), then grabbing Tides of the Foscari is a complete no-brainer. If you haven’t tried it yet, jump in without fail. 

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