Here's an up-close look at Vampire Survivors' chaotic couch co-op mode, set to arrive in August

Vampire Survivors couch co-op screen
(Image credit: poncle)

In June, poncle announced that the reverse bullet hell Vampire Survivors will finally be getting a couch co-op mode in August. Today we got a closer look at how it will work, along with the surprise announcement of new Steam-specific features that are actually live today.

Co-op play in Vampire Survivors is quite straightforward overall: It's the same as the singleplayer mode, but with more people. Naturally, some concessions have to be made to accommodate the crowd, and they were spelled out today on the Xbox News Wire. Each player in co-op mode must choose a different character—"Having 4 Poes, O’Soles or Sigmas on screen would simply make the universe implode," poncle senior marketing manager Geo Morgan explained—and while weapons can be chosen at will, the number of weapons you can carry depends on how many people are playing.

"This means for maximum survival time you’ll have to decide who picks which weapon, but for maximum chaos you could shut your eyes and select anything!" Morgan said.

Players will level up in turns rather than simultaneously. Should one player die, any XP they've earned will go to the next player in line. Death in co-op mode is not the end. A player who dies turns into a coffin, and will eventually revive as long as the coffin is kept clear of enemies. And because the action will remain on a single screen, just as it is in singleplayer mode, you'll "have to tactically agree with your teammates on where to go next and which spots on the map are best to fight your battles." Or get into big arguments about it, as the case may be.

The couch co-op mode will also include a unique new item, the potentially ironically-named Friendship Amulet. "This item can appear on the level-up screen and will level-up a random weapon for each player," Morgan said. "Players will have to decide if they tactically (or selfishly) pick a level-up for a weapon of their choice or give the whole group a round of random level ups."

(Image credit: poncle)

Vampire Survivor's couch co-op mode is set to go live on August 17. Ahead of that—as in, today—an update is coming to Steam that will add five Steam trading cards, six badges, five emoticons, and three profile backgrounds. The studio said that this is "just the first step," and that it will be looking into making more items like this in the future, presumably once the couch co-op update is out.

(Image credit: poncle)

Vampire Survivors will not support online play, for the record, but poncle said when the mode was announced that it will work perfectly fine with Steam Remote Play Together. There's also no official PvP mode, but Morgan teased that "there might be a few ways to get a little revenge on your friends" if you don't think they're properly committed to the whole "cooperative" part of the game.

IGN showed off 12 minutes of Vampire Survivors couch co-op gameplay footage as part of today's ID@Xbox showcase. Check it out below.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.