I've enjoyed the early access experience of Vampire Survivors, hopping back on every few weeks to check out a new update and do all the new stuff (and make all the new explosions). The roguelikelike survival arcade game has grown a lot, and fast, especially considering it started as a solo project. As it nears version 1.0, the latest big update has added a new final boss to the final level, a flashy battle.
Patch 0.8.0 launched on Steam Thursday afternoon, though it isn't yet live on the Game Pass/Microsoft Store verison (following "very shortly," a press release said).
The most dramatic edition is a new version of stage 5, Cappella Magna, with a full-on boss battle. I'll leave it a surprise but will say yeah, it was pretty fun, though I had inadvertently ended up with a low-damage, high-survivability build so it took ages and got a bit boring. Once you beat the boss, the stage does return to normal.
Beating that boss unlocks a fancy new relic: the Great Gospel. It gives the option to keep levelling up weapons past their limit, which I imagine grows ridiculous? I'll have to play with that and see. A new Arcana perk is in to find too. And apparently the update snuck in yet another secret character.
Looking at the content roadmap in the patch notes, all that's left before v1.0 is two more weapons, one more Challenge level, and five more Arcana perk cards. Given how many surprises and secrets Vampire Survivors slips in, I do expect it to add more. The makers are also working to bring it to a new game engine to help avoid the inevitable endgame framerate death—though if you ask me, building a run good enough to make the game start chugging is the real victory condition.
In our Vampire Survivors early access review back in January, Matt Cox called it "an unquestionably compulsive treat". Hard to believe it was five months ago that the game had only two levels. It was tiny then! It's grown so fast! Yet it's still only £2.09/€2.39/$2.99 on Steam (and available on Game Pass, albeit updated a bit later).
"I've read many reviews of the game," lead developer Luca Galante told us a few months back. "But still no one seemed to mention one title in particular which was, to me, a clear inspiration for the gameplay: Pac-Man."