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One of Xbox's best free games just got way better

One of Xbox's best free games just got way better

There are vampires Among Us

It has been over two years since Vampire Survivors launched on Steam and just over a year since it took the industry by storm, gathering millions of players. For a game that costs only a few quid, it’s amazing to think of the value players get.

When I last checked, my Steam playtime had nudged over 100 hours and I still haven’t seen everything. In recent months the game has received several updates adding an online co-op mode and several new characters and weapons. Today the game received its first-ever DLC crossover with another game, Among Us, perhaps a nod to the future of content for its developers.

Among Us has already crossed over with other games including Fortnite

It’s an odd choice for a crossover, a sci-fi social deduction game meeting the fantasy world of vampires and hunters, but it oddly works. Included in the Emergency Meeting DLC are nine different Among Us characters as well as a map inspired by the ship on which the game takes place. To visit this DLC, it’s worth going back and talking about what Vampire Suriviors is, and why it’s so popular.

To play Vampire Survivors you just need a thumbstick and one button, it’s accessibility is simplicity. You start by controlling a vampire hunter in a huge area constantly swarmed with enemies large and small. Thousands of creatures hone in on your position and your only option is to keep moving, collecting XP from dead enemies which unlock weapons and items that automatically attack those around you - no need for aiming.

There’s an addictive gameplay loop at the centre of the game. Rounds last, at maximum, 30 minutes, if you can get that far by combining weapons and creating synergies. For example, using garlic, which casts a damaging aura around your character, with the heart that heals over time, you end up with an aura that damages enemies and heals you based on the damage. With over 80 weapons and 40 synergies, there’s a great deal of depth behind the simplicity.

The weapons range from rings that cast lightning storms, to daggers and swords. The main weapon of the red Among Us scientist? A megaphone. It’s preposterous. There are hundreds of thousands of creatures and monsters speeding towards you and the air vibrations manage to kill them. This shows further the sense of humour running through the entire game. It knows it's silly and revels in it. After all, in the first DLC a character was added that’s a rip-off of a birthday cake called Colin the Caterpillar.

Other Among Us survivors can be used as weapons. They’re collected across the map and will follow you around, like pets of familiars. Each one has a weapon effect or buff to bestow, but these can also each be unlocked as controllable characters by hitting certain objectives within a round. This striving to unlock everything becomes a core part of the gameplay loop. In Vampire Survivors practically every round you play features risk and reward.

Playing Vampire Survivors is like playing a slot machine. It’s a constant hit of dopamine pouring in from watching flashing lights, projectiles flying, enemies dying, and XP gems making the experience bar go brrrr. This latest DLC update leans into absurdity while showing what the game is capable of. I hope this crossover is the first of many. It expands the game in ways that would otherwise be restricted if it stuck to its fantasy setting and by bringing in other franchises it can expand to bring in even more fans.

Featured Image Credit: Microsoft

Topics: Among Us, Xbox, Xbox Game Pass, Xbox Series S, Xbox Series X