Vampire Rush review

Captain Greg is a valiant dude on a mission to stop the hordes of undead from breaking down the gates to you and me, the living.

Apparently the Vampire Underworld has the same kind of theme as Jimi Hendrix velvet posters used to have: highly psychedelic with loads of purple and green. Captain Greg isn’t afraid of no ghosts, vampires or bats no matter how drugged out they seem to be. Hell bent on protecting the gates he resorts to using two iOS favourite genre mechanics: tower defense and dual stick fighting.

img_0028The controls are more or less the same found for most top down dual stick shooters. A virtual stick on the left of the screen controls movement, and a single button on the right lets you melee their guts out. Tapping in sequence sets up simple combos, and holding the button pressed for a while makes a whirlwind attack. Most of the time it all translates into simple button mashing, and trying to make sure enemies are within reach. The tower building controls are also rather easy to get the hang of. Simply tap the control menu on the right to get the four available towers to choose from. If the area is free simply build a tower. Upgrading is as easy as running up to a tower, and touching the up arrow on the tower. There is also a menu where you get to buy powers for Greg to use such as healing.

There are two difficulties available: easy, and normal. On easy you also get to see pickups as dots on the minimap. There are also two game modes available: adventure and survival. Survival is unlocked once you complete a couple of levels in adventure mode.

img_3942Overall content is limited in Vampire Rush. Only four kinds of towers limits the strategies needed to succeed. Only five different enemy types with zero AI don’t really cater for some frantic action. Vampire Rush is a mash up of two game genres that have been more or less perfected by others, and somehow neither of the genres work within this game. There is too much standing around waiting for the next wave to come, and as the AI is stupid it is always easy to predict the paths and behaviour. Sure the AI is seldom clever in a tower defense game, and that is the problem here. The game takes the limitations of one genre, and forces it into another.

This review is for the iPhone/iPod version, and that is because it is better suited for the small screen. With no customization available it is harder to keep glued to the larger screen. Waiting for the next wave of enemies get noticibly harder when holding the iPad. The gameplay is the same, and this is one of those games that should have been a universal binary.

Vampire Rush is still quite fun at times when you get to plan your defenses. I would have liked a speedup button to skip ahead to situations when the game needed me to slay some vampires. Running about trying to find pickups is what I tend to do to spend some time.
Slaying them yourself gives a higher score, but considering the game is only connected to the rather small Crystal service I see little to no point getting a good score. I wish it had Openfeint or Game Center integration as well.

The maps are rather varied in the sense that the monsters have different paths to walk. Other than that the enemies remain the same, and so does the art style.

Image from iPad version

Image from iPad version

The presentation in Vampire Rush is interesting in many ways. It took me quite a while to get used to the almost hallucinogenic colour palette used. Furthermore I am having a really hard time finding it a horrifying place, and the atmosphere fails me. I could have just as well been battling hot dogs and walking lollipops instead of vampires in the setting. The graphics aren’t bad though, and both enemies and Greg are well animated. The music is predictable attempts at being scary, and combined with the colours used it fails utterly and completely no matter how many string instruments used. The sound effects are ok for the most part, as is the odd one-liner from Greg. Some enemies such as the bats get annoying with their weird attack sounds.

Vampire Rush has some good qualities, and could serve as a good entry point for those who have never experience either tower defense or dual stick shooters. If you however are versed in any of the genres you will think it is a shallow game that fails the genre you know the best. To me it manages to fail in both, but still it can be quite fun in short spurts. I can only give it a limited recommendation. It is not a tower defense game with dual stick components added, or a dual stick brawler with TD aspects added. Rather it is lite versions of both genres mashed together in a psychedelic setting.

Final Rating

Vampire Rush $1.99
Version: 1.0
Seller: Chillingo Ltd.

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  • crsib

    > I wish it had Openfeint or Game Center integration as well.
    Every game integrated with Crystal has complete integration with GameCenter. So I can get, how you’ve missed that point. Also, iTunes quite clearly states, that the game is integrated with GC.

    > Sure the AI is seldom clever in a tower defense game, and that is the problem here.
    Could you please point out a hack&slash game with a better AI. It’s even dumber in Diablo series, for example.

    > With no customization available
    There is a GUI customization available to suit the iPad size. It seems that you just haven’t played the HD version