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G.URL takes on Vampire Survivors’ latest DLC with guns blazing!

Operation Guns Combines Bullet Hell with Contra Nostalgia

Written by Annika McCabe

Admittedly, I was equally intimidated and delighted when G.URL approached me with such a beloved, and skill-based, title. The highly addictive and critically acclaimed Vampire Survivors has charmed players since its launch in late 2021, quickly becoming an indie darling. Developer Poncle caught the attention of countless players by implementing both bullet hell and time-based gameplay into a minimalist 8-bit style auto-shooter, creating a genuinely unique experience for players. Since its initial launch, the game has seen a variety of updates and DLC available for purchase. The latest DLC, Operation Guns, excited fans with the inclusion of not only 22 new weapons, but 11 new characters as well. Perhaps the most anticipated and surprising facet of this DLC for players was the implementation of Konami’s iconic Contra IP. All things considered, it sounds like the perfect recipe for enjoyable new content, but what really happens when Vampire Survivors trades in its classic monsters and garlic for mechas and guns? Let’s take a look.

The base game tosses you straight into the action of Vampire Survivors. Upon starting a level, increasingly large hordes of enemies attempt to swarm, and overwhelm, the player. On the surface, the job of the player can seem rather simple. You do not manually fire your various weapons, you instead dictate the direction in which your character moves and your weapons fire. You choose your weapons or abilities from an often random selection of power-ups once your level increases. The hand holding is relatively non existent, which was the source of much of my intimidation. I found myself puzzling over minute control details only to realize it was a simple WASD or direction key setup. I was confused at first by the lack of direction and didn’t know where to go, repeatedly finding myself overrun by the monsters. However, as I progressed, I found the lack of direction to be rather intuitive, actually. I became obsessed with surviving longer and spent several hours trying to scheme up the best way to do so. I was able to solidify some combinations I knew worked well for me. I became reliant on playing as Clerici because of her ability to slowly recover and would always select and upgrade the garlic weapon as soon as possible to create more distance between myself and the enemies. I soon stopped dying seconds into each level and began to live through rounds of up to 20 minutes! The only way to learn Vampire Survivors is to play it. The title truly relies on the player to figure things out and pick upon the best power-up combinations that will enhance the length and means of their survival in order to locate various relics or fulfill the requirements necessary to unlock the next level,

character, weapon, or power-up. The more you fail the more motivated you become to succeed; to survive longer than you did the last time, to find and unlock the character that feels the best to play as, to refine and edit which combination of power-ups you utilize. These are the fundamental elements of the game, and they do not change in Operation Guns, just now repackaged under Contra theming. This is not to say that there’s nothing new to see in this DLC; it’s actually quite the contrary (sorry). Not only are there the more ammunition based weapons and characters mentioned prior, but there are also new levels available in the main and adventure modes. I found myself playing quite often as Ariana because her starting weapon, the spread shot, covers more ground than some of the other firearms. The new levels contain a plethora of recognizable content for fans of the infamous IP including new monsters (one particularly classic example for those masterful enough to survive to the 30 minute mark), new power-up capsules, and a ton of awesome new Contra themed music to boot. With so much to unlock and with the adventure mode containing 6 chapters, there’s a ton of replayability ensured in this DLC. The new weapons and enemies shift the gameplay just enough to freshen up the familiar while honoring the spirit of the base game. Operation Guns really spices things up, and I would say that it’s well worth checking out even for those Vampire Survivors fans who may be less acquainted with the Contra franchise. If any of this piqued your interest, I highly encourage you to check out Vampire Survivors and Operation Guns. The base game is $4.99 / €3.99 and the DLC is now out for PC, Steam, Xbox, Nintendo Switch and mobile for $2.49 / €2.49 with a PS version to follow later this Summer alongside the PS version of the main game. Try not to be surprised over the sheer amount of hours you’ll soon sink into this thing should you choose to give it a try. Happy surviving!

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Team G.URL

G.URL Magazine is a pioneering publication dedicated to redefining the image of female gamers and celebrating their role in the gaming community. Established in 2022, G.URL Magazine explores the intersection of gaming culture with fashion, music, and lifestyle, offering a unique and inclusive perspective on the 'gamer girl' experience. The magazine's mission is to challenge stereotypes, highlight the achievements of women in gaming, and promote inclusivity within the online community.