Vampire Survivors set for hefty FPS boost as its new engine finally gets a release date: 'It's like a completely different game'

Vampire Survivors
(Image credit: Poncle)

I'll be honest: I don't think of Vampire Survivors as much of a resource hog, given that it consists mostly of lightly-animated sprites roaming a 2D plane, but that might just be because I'm not very good at it. As rounds drag on, sprites pile up and the weapon effects grow ever-more vivacious, meaning even a game as elegant and humble as this can start chugging. Good news, then, that Vampire Survivors has finally put a firm date on its switch to Unity almost a year after it was first announced.

The transition to the new engine—which is the one the game already uses on mobile and Xbox—will take place on August 17, and Poncle promises it's been "thoroughly tested and runs better than the old one". I'm inclined to believe that; the Unity version has actually been accessible as a Steam beta for ages now, and the vast majority of feedback I've seen from people who have tried it out has been overwhelmingly positive.

"New engine is amazing" reads a post from Reddit user Zealousideal-Try4666, who tried out the beta version of the new tech a few months ago. "The game runs perfectly and flawlessly even with hundreds of levels on limit break, it doesn't even stutter, it's like a completely different game, it's honestly unbelievable".

Another user, Oddworld19, said that the new engine took them from "5-8 frames" on their Steam Deck to "around locked 60 FPS". "Played a few hours this way. Seems to work perfectly," they said. I'm gonna go ahead and theorise that "5-8 frames" was at the tail-end of a round, with countless enemies and effects on the screen drinking up resources, since Vampire Survivors is famously an excellent Steam Deck game otherwise. 

It's not infallible, of course. A player named louisrocks40 still managed to get the game to slow to a crawl playing as "sammy with +50 amount, +500% duration, -256% cooldown," but even then "the UI is still responsive to opening the menu, and it is still much faster than the original client".

That's not to say there haven't been any issues, mind you. Some users have reported bugs during the engine's beta access period, and one or two have even reported worse performance compared to the game's original engine. But hopefully that's all been ironed out ahead of the August 17 release date, and my own reading has turned up much, much more positive feedback for the switch than negative.

Joshua Wolens
News Writer

One of Josh's first memories is of playing Quake 2 on the family computer when he was much too young to be doing that, and he's been irreparably game-brained ever since. His writing has been featured in Vice, Fanbyte, and the Financial Times. He'll play pretty much anything, and has written far too much on everything from visual novels to Assassin's Creed. His most profound loves are for CRPGs, immersive sims, and any game whose ambition outstrips its budget. He thinks you're all far too mean about Deus Ex: Invisible War.