Hack-‘n-slash and tower defense are two of the most popular game types on iOS. With the pros and cons of touchscreen gaming, these types of games fit the platform very well. The developers of Vampire Rush have taken a calculated risk by merging these genres into something different. The game combines a variety of conventions that iOS gamers are used to, but the thoughtful execution and cohesiveness of the experience impressed us at every angle.
The premise of the game is all in the name. Vampires, and many if their related buddies, are storming the gates you’re protecting. There’s no unnecessary over-the-top story explaining everything, just a good old fashioned setting of good vs. evil. You’re humanity’s only hope for fighting the hordes of evil using expert martial arts, magic, and the ability to build combat towers to do your bidding.
Deal with my ring of power!
Throughout each of the game’s seven stages, you take on the undead in waves, similar to what you’ve seen in Plants Vs Zombies and a host of other tower defense games. In between each wave, you can invest your cash in upgrading your character’s abilities and towers. Speaking of abilities on the combat side, you can use hand-to-hand combat or magic to throw fire and ice attacks to clear oncoming swarms of baddies. Responsiveness on the melee action is instantaneous and satisfying. Tapping out moves or holding the attack button to launch canned combos offers a couple of options to lay the smack down.
Building towers strategically is imperative to ensure you’re not overwhelmed with the volume of enemies. Adding and cashing out towers is incredibly easy, and the interface is a pleasure to use. While there are only 4 tower types, they can be upgraded to add more potency to your attack.
Is that an electrical top hat?
Vampire Rush does a great job with the core mechanics, but it’s the flow of the waves that make each situation feel unique. You can use some primitive strategy to brute force your way to victory, but using different attacks to prey on enemy weaknesses is the real way to play the game. Earlier levels will send monsters from one or two different paths, but it gets really intense later on when you can see enemies spawning from all over the place. A handy minimap lets you see where to focus your efforts, so the frustration level doesn’t hit critical mass.
Vampire Rush is also a psychedelic visual romp. You’ll see lots of contrasting pinks, purples and blacks that combine to create a consistent and dark landscape. Some odd animations not withstanding, Vampire Rush is a very attractive game. Depending on your device, you may need to toggle the graphical options to get a better frame rate. Options to ratchet performance up or down are smart considering the number of iOS devices and configurations out there. We hope this trend becomes a best practice for more graphically intensive games, because it makes a lot of sense.
The iPad version of Vampire Rush is simply a higher resolution version of the game, so you can decide if the bigger form factor is worth the small premium. We’d love to see a few updates (e.g. new levels, multiplayer, etc.) that would add more value to Vampire Rush. Even without a single addition, Vampire Rush is a certified winner.