Is Malignant Survivors, Worth Playing?
Honest Video Game Reviews received a free copy of this title for review purposes, however our opinions are our own.
Malignant Survivors is the bite-sized, fairly priced action rogue-like that the genre has been needing, and while it won’t take the genre by storm, the fact it exists bodes well for the genre as a whole.

The Lowdown.

Product Details
Genre: Action Rogue-Like
Developer: Eren Aydin
Publisher: Eren Aydin
Price: $1.99
Release Date: 13 February 2024


When you are not the market leader, have less content than the market leader, and have less public awareness than the market leader, you MUST price yourself so cheaply that the average consumer will not think twice about buying your product.

While this sounds common sense (and it is), it sadly is not as common as it should be, with many action rogue-like developers pricing their titles two or three times more expensive than Vampire Survivors while only offering a literal fraction of the content, and often a far less polished experience.

It is better to sell a million copies at $1 than a quarter of a million copies at $2, a simple truth that indie developers who want to make an action rogue-like must take to heart. While they may have put their heart and soul into their game, Vampire Survivors retails for less than $5 and is undoubtedly the best and most successful game in the genre. Without pricing their game cheaper, they have virtually no chance of gaining a foothold in an overcrowded market.

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Quick Runs.

An average Malignant Survivors run lasts 4-5 minutes, making it a perfect pick-up-and-play game for even the busiest gamer, with every run offering a chance at meaningful progression and rare items.

I know that spending just 10 minutes a day can result in a very powerful character in just a few days, thanks to Malignant Survivors best in class loot system, generous but balanced gold per-minute ratio for successful runs, and decent but less impressive gold per minute ratio for unsuccessful.

Win or lose, every run feels like I have accomplished something, which is exactly what this genre is about, with titles such as Vampire Survivors and now Malignant Survivors helping to make every run both challenging and rewarding, a perfect balance that many action rogue like games fail to achieve.

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Malignant Survivors is very well optimised, and even my 5700 XT build easily rarely dips below 245FPS, a truly impressive feat for any game.

While Malignant Survivors’ excellent performance can be attributed to its smaller map size and low polygon density models than some other popular titles in the action rogue-like genre, many games that look far worse also perform terribly, and I believe credit should be given where and when it is due.

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The one part of Malignant Survivors that let me down is its control, with player characters suffering from what is commonly called tank or boat controls; at no time did I feel like a skilful assassin or wizard; rather, instead, I felt like I was trying a Honda Civic on an icy road, with each movement feeling exaggerated, and somehow incredibly sluggish at the same time.

This problem is exasperated by Malignant Survivors’ lack of full controller support (a mouse and keyboard are needed to navigate most menus) and generally poor responsiveness when using a controller.

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Lack of Maps.

Malignant Survivors has just one map, and while it’s a good-looking map and has decent texturing and prop placement, even one or two extra maps with a different texture pallet or unique setting would go a long way towards making Malignant Survivors feel like a more polished product.

Copyright Infringement.

I must begin this by saying that no, Malignant Survivors does not violate the copyright of World of Warcraft; however, it comes close in a few places, with multiple skill icons being almost exact copies of those found in the iconic MMORPG and many skills sharing both the same name and icon of those found in the former.

That being said, there are enough subtle differences to make it legal, and despite my distaste for copying another game artwork, the developer of Malignant Survivors cannot be blamed, as I have seen all of these icons (and similar icons) on various asset stores for years, and clearly if there were going to be a legal issue something would have been done by now.

Blizzard seems either unaware of the icon pack or, more likely, does not feel the artwork is similar enough to their artwork to warrant a lawsuit and the resulting bad press that always accompanies a big company going after a small graphic artist or indie developer.

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Malignant Survivors distil the action rogue-like genre down to its most basic element, “keep moving”, with players killing enemies, gathering & equipping loot, and levelling automatically; players are free to concentrate on moving around the map, collecting gold & items, while evading enemy attacks.

At the end of every run, players are presented with all of the items they collected and given the choice to purchase items to keep permanently with gold, in addition at the end of successful runs, players are offered a wider pool of items, with every piece of loot that dropped being available for purchase, even if the player had not collected it during the run.

Once players have chosen what items they want to keep (or opted to save their gold and purchase nothing), they are turned to the main menu, where they can equip their characters with the loot they had purchased.

With over 800 items to collect, including powerful legendary items with unique abilities and armour sets that offer additional bonuses for each item equipped, by far Malignant Survivors has one of the best loot systems in the action rogue-like genre, with only the likes of Brotato offering any real competition in this regard.

I feel that a loot system this good deserves a bigger game, and while unlocking additional difficulties is fun, I want new maps, biomes, enemies and more. I would love to see Malignant Survivors or a potential sequel receive the funding it needs to make that happen.

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Malignant Survivors is a action rogue-like video game developed and published by Eren Aydin, it was released on 13 February 2024 and retails for $1.99.

Platform Availability.

Malignant Survivors is available exclusively on PC.

What Peripherals Are Supported?

The following peripherals are officially supported:

  • PC - Controller.
  • PC - Mouse and Keyboard.

Is There Any Mature Content?

MALIGNANT SURVIVORS is unrated and contains the following:

  • Violence

Final Verdict.

I am impressed with Malignant Survivors; it’s fairly priced, performs well, has an excellent progression system, is built around a simple and engaging gameplay loop, and while it does suffer from a lack of map variety and player characters do move a little stiffly, overall it is one of the best games the genre has given us and most refreshingly shares almost no functional similarities with Vampire Survivors, making it one of just a few unique action rogue-likes in an ocean of Vampire Survivor clones.

Is Malignant Survivors Worth Playing In 2024?

Honest Video Game Reviews has given "Malignant Survivors" a rating of 8/10, indicating that it is a good game, that is well worth playing, and while it may have a few shortcomings, the average gamer will enjoy it.

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