Vampire Survivors, Boneraiser Minions, 20 Minutes Till Dawn,… – A New Genre?

Over the course of this year, more and more games have come out that are inspired by Vampire Survivors and other games like it. Boneraiser Minions, 20 Minutes Till Dawn, Brotato, Her Name Was Fire, Nomad Survival, Void Scrapper, etc. – There are many games that came out because of the popularity of Vampire Survivors and they each add their own spin to the formula.

You kill enemies that spawn around you, you get stronger, create a build of sorts and become incredibly OP.

I think that that whole gimmick of becoming incredibly overpowered by the end of the run paired with the fact that runs are short, basically summarises the whole appeal of this genre. It’s quick, fun and hard to quit. Like cigarettes.

This “genre” basically is a sub-genre of Roguelikes, I’d argue.

We’re talking about Bullet-Hell Arena-Shooters with Roguelike elements that focus on hordes of enemies trying to kill you… all while you’re practically racing against time itself as you’ll need to outpace the increasing difficulty curve.

Runs are limited in how long they take. At specific points, bosses spawn. If you’re not strong enough by that point, you’re dead.

Risk of Rain sort of implemented that as well – fighting against time and stuff… and at the same time, games like Behold already had the horde survival idea in place paired with the “you are overpowered” premise… and AK-Xolotl also kinda played into that.

Either way, “horde survival arena shooter bullet hell roguelikes” is a mouth-full and I believe that it’d be nice to have a name for all of this…

…and something that I found online was the phrase “Bullet Paradise”.

I believe this term is great. Whereas Bullet Hell games are all about surviving and dodging bullets and enemies… Bullet Paradise games are about getting stronger by being the bullet-shooter or the threat to the enemies who often just charge at you or shoot you from afar.

Whereas Bullet Hell games pit you against “bosses”, you’re the boss in a Bullet Paradise game.

That’s the idea… Obviously, it doesn’t work quite well… and it’s not a perfect definition. Some features would include:

  • Short Runs
  • Challenging with some depth to it through synergies and stat progression
  • Enemies spawn around you on the screen
  • Meta Progression and Unlocks for replayability
  • Level-Ups grant you procedural upgrades that give you new ways of attacking or boost your existing stats and weapons
  • Great Soundtrack (must-have)

I believe that these are features that this “genre” has. I know that games like VS are not a new genre… but more of a subgenre of roguelikes… but it’s good to have a name for it, right?

Feel free to share your thoughts and name suggestions!

This post was first published on Indiecator by Dan Indiecator aka MagiWasTaken. If you like what you see here and want to see more, you can check me out on Twitch and YouTube as well.

2 thoughts on “Vampire Survivors, Boneraiser Minions, 20 Minutes Till Dawn,… – A New Genre?

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  1. Calling games like VS a completely new genre feels so weird to me because, like with “battle Royales”, it’s just an existing game mode that exists in a standalone package. This is just horde mode innit? Albeit, it’s the focus of the game instead of a side mode that you kill time with. That’s not to say it isn’t fun, but this kind of experience isn’t exactly “new”.

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    1. I think it’s a valid discussion to have, mainly because it certainly is a subgenre of roguelikes (as I said in the post)… and calling those something like “bullet paradise” has a nice ring to it.
      As I also mentioned, other games did the same thing already but “horde survival bullet hell roguelike arena shooter with procedural generation and a great soundtrack as well as short run durations” is quite lengthy to describe these… and just saying that it’s “like vampire survivors” isn’t always fair because so many of these games are so different from VS and whatnot…

      But I also see articles on that pop up here and there, calling these games a new genre of games… which is wrong… hence the “a new genre?” as a question… Not sure if that got through that I would think it’s more of a sub-genre of roguelites than anything else.

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