Spellbound Survivors is a near 1-to-1 clone of Vampire Survivors, with less polished mechanics, less content, and surprisingly more impressive visuals.
The only aspect of Spellbound Survivors that is not inferior to Vampire Survivors is its visuals; however, that does not mean that Spellbound Survivors is a bad game, and while its upgraded weapon system is not as good as the one found in Vamnpire Survivors, the addition of ultimate abilities (known as super attacks) does help to make combat a little more enjoyable, which is very important considering that Spellbound Survivors is very unbalanced and players essentially have two choices, play with a vortex focused build ( Spellbound Survivors version of garlic) or lose before you reach the final boss.
What makes Vampire Survivors so enjoyable is the amount of options players make when deciding how to create their build.
Unfortunately, that level of freedom just isn’t present in Spellbound Survivors, and there is very little to do once you unlock vortex beyond going idle, returning every minute to assign you to upgrade points, and using the ultimate and summonable monster ability to melt the mini-bosses.
As I type this review, my paladin (armed with vortex and shields) is essentially idling the entire game, making Spellbound Survivors feel more like an idle game built for Android than a true action rogue-like.
I was given the opportunity to play Spellbound Survivors several months before release, and honestly, I was not that impressed; it was filled with bugs and poor design choices, and the developer maintained near-total radio silence with those of us who were testing the game, and helping them improve upon the game.
While it appears they took the feedback to heart, and by the time the game launched, every major issue we highlighted in our preview coverage was addressed, the fact that media outlets were given a build that was broken to the point of being unplayable for the majority of the test period, and no effort to reach out to us and others outlets about our concerns with the build and its chances of offering gamers good value for money is a cause for concern.
When coupled with disastrously poor sales (believed to be 200 units or less), the chances of Spellbound Survivors improving are next to none.
While I enjoy the game, there is no real reason to play Spellbound Survivors when Vampire Survivors and many other excellent action rogue-like titles exist.
While Spellbound Survivors offers a decent amount of content for a very fair price (if you pretend that Vampire Survivors does not exist), much of this content is time-gated, requiring players to play for up to 15 hours to unlock certain items, even though except for two items, everything else is easily unlocked within 5-6 hours, essentially forcing players to grind up to 200% the length of the actual content available to unlock the final items/playable character.
While it’s not a terrible grind, and the required 15 hours can mostly be done AFK, forcing players to redo the same content over and over long after gold has little to no value and there is nothing else worthwhile to unlock except the time-gated items is a great way to ensure that players become frustrated and stop playing altogether.
There is no realistic scenario in which Spellbound Survivors is not abandoned, and while this is an unhappy truth for some to grasp, we must be realistic.
No one will invest in a game that sold this poorly, and ToastedSquadStudios cannot be expected to continue the development of a title that very likely made less than $100 profit if it managed to make any profit at all.
No one would want to continue the development of such a game if they were in ToastedSquadStudios’ place, and as a Christian, I cannot help but be reminded of the words of Jesus.
If I had spent time and money making a game, only to end up with a net loss (when including the time I spent on making the game), I would welcome mercy and compassion instead of judgment and harsh words, and I imagine most of you reading this would feel the same way.
While Spellbound Survivors is almost entirely comprised of what appears to be store-bought assets, they are of very high quality. For those who place visuals above gameplay, this is the one area in which Spellbound Survivors surpasses Vampire Survivors, a game known for its excellent gameplay more than its visuals, which are not only asset store fodder but unimpressive asset store fodder at that.
Spellbound Survivors is a action rogue-like video game developed and published by ToastedSquadStudios, it was released on 29 December 2023 and retails for $4.49.
Spellbound Survivors is available exclusively on PC.
The following peripherals are officially supported:
Spellbound Survivors is unrated and contains the following:
Spellbound Survivors looks pretty, and it’s clear the developers have invested some time and money into it (unlike some Vampire Survivors clones); however, it has very little content compared to Vampire Survivors.
While it’s not a bad game, and, overall, provides decent value for money, it is essentially a nearly 1-to-1 clone of Vampire Survivors, and there is no reason to purchase Spellbound Survivors when Vampire Survivors is cheaper, has more content, and most importantly will continue to receive updates, unlike Spellbound Survivors which is likely to fade away, due to catastrophically poor sales, and an overall lukewarm reception by the gaming community.