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The secret to success in Vampire Survivors is power evolution

It compels me.

I've been sucked into Vampire Survivors like a stream of blood pouring into a fanged mouth. I've done well in the game and I've done badly, and what I've come to realise is that every time, I'm playing for one moment. One moment which entirely changes the course of the game: power evolution.

I hope you read that in a dramatic voice.

If you've lasted into the late teens (minutes), you'll know what I mean. It's the moment when one of your attacks, or special powers, goes from improving incrementally to improving incredibly. In one upgrade, it will transform almost unrecognisably, with a new name, a new graphical effect, and it will feel 10-times more powerful than what came before. And suddenly, you will go from clinging on in the game to simply standing there while undead waves crash uselessly against your miraculously transformed defence.

I had no idea such a thing could even happen. It was with total surprise that I looted a chest and my garlic power went from a weak damaging ring around me to a massive shadow that leeched life from anything that entered it. The same chest also separately evolved my wand into having a never-ending, rapid-fire attack. I was unstoppable!

Cover image for YouTube videovampire survivor map 2
A teeny tiny clip of the run I'm talking about, up to my overconfident death. But what damage! What heroics! And apologies for the stuttering in the middle - even my PC was stunned by my success!

Or so I thought. Sneaky, sneaky Vampire Survivors. This is its lull. This is the moment it gives you a break by tipping the balance and letting you feel in control of what's going on. So in control was I, I was able to put my controller down and still not be harmed. And all the time the clock ticked closer to 30 minutes, that fabled golden time marking the end of a run. 'Is that all it's got?' I wondered, triumphant but also a little let down.

But as if Dracula had control of the difficulty himself, the dial was cranked up, and mere seconds away from 30 minutes, a torrent of enemies flooded in and overwhelmed me. So, bloody, close. But I'd glimpsed real power! I'd sniffed the end. So I rushed to tell people how well I'd done.

See the big black ring around me? That's my evolved garlic. What a weird thing to say out loud.
Nothing can touuuucchhhh meeee... Best sung to the tune of 'Isn't She Lovely?' by Stevie Wonder.

It was by far and away my best time by a matter of around 10 minutes, and the difference had been the evolved powers, so I played again in hungry pursuit of them, eager to see what other evolutions there were. And, as I've come to find out, there are many, and there are specific requirements you need to meet in order to activate them - it's not as simple as only upgrading one power.

But don't spoil it by looking them up, let your curiosity fuel your finding them, because that's the fun, isn't it, that's the loop? I have stumbled on more and their reveal delighted me. They even managed to propel me further than the fabled 30-minute mark, which I tell you with an enormous sense of smugness. Now I know - or think I know - what happens at the end. And that's what Vampire Survivors is really all about, isn't it? Bragging. And the secret behind it all? Dramatic voice...

Power evolution.