Games

Legacy Of The Moonspell Review


Our Score

8.0

The Good

The most detailed stage yet and a bunch of new characters and weapons.

The Bad

Summon Night is by far the worst weapon in the game.

Release Date

December 15, 2022

Developed By

poncle

Available On

Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PC

Reviewed On

PC

(Disclaimer: Copy of DLC was provided for review purposes.)


Independent publisher/developer poncle has been active in releasing free updates filled with additional content for its surprise hit retro action title, Vampire Survivors, so the arrival of its first paid DLC has some high standards to uphold. Thankfully, Legacy Of The Moonspell not only provides Vampire Survivors fans with a bunch of new and exciting content, it does it at a price point that’s hard to argue against.

While the base game’s content has always been strictly Eurocentric — after all, that’s where the best vampire stories come from — Legacy of the Moonspell’s characters, monsters, and new map are all laid out with an East-Asian theme in mind, setting the new content distinctly apart while still feeling right at home through the retro pixel graphics and playstyle that will be familiar to Vampire veterans.

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By far the biggest upgrade in Legacy Of The Moonspell is its new stage, Mt. Moonspell. Whereas other stages throughout the game have patterns and textures that repeat ad nauseum like the background of a 1960s Hanna-Barbera cartoon, this new stage is encapsulated by different regions. From the snow-covered castle to the north, the bamboo forest to the east, and the ocean shore to the south, there’s a ton to explore. What’s more, the lack of repeating patterns allows for more interesting features, including buildings and caves whose contents you can’t see until you’ve stepped inside. There’s also hard-to-traverse pathways and cliffs, adding an element of strategy to traversal that goes beyond “look at the icon on the map and move that away.” What’s more, the map commits hard to the East-Asian theme, with a wide variety of Japanese yokai and oni making up the bulk of the monsters, and the developers make the stage feel even more alive by only placing some monsters in certain portions of the map, like having kappa only come out of the ocean to the south. I nearly jumped out of my skin the first time I saw massive skeleton boss Goshadokuro start flailing its arms, and eight-headed purple dragon Orochimario provides a unique challenge at the 25-minute mark of each stage, striking from across the screen with its long necks.

Unlocking the first five characters is relatively simple and straightforward. For the first, Miang Moonspell, you’ll have to find and open the coffin in the new stage, Mount Moonspell, which is par for the course at this point. To unlock Menya Moonspell, you’ll have to evolve Miang’s weapon; to unlcok Syuuto Moonspell, you’ll have to evolve Menya’s weapon, and so on. It’s a familiar formula, but the characters and their new weapons do their part to make the game feel fresh.

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Miang can survive for a long time by boosting his hit points above the maximum, which is made even easier through the use of his signature weapon, the Silver Wind, which can make enemies drop health items. Menya is a bit fragile at first, but her special ability gives her occasional boosts of movement speed and raw power that would make any plumber with a star envious. Babi-Onya comes equipped with 10 rerolls per level, giving you a better chance to find the weapon or item you need upon level-up, and her signature weapon creates clones that will draw the enemies’ attention and cause damage to them. And Syuuto becomes incredibly speedy once you evolve his signature weapon, Summon Night, which you’ll want to do right away, because it’s otherwise ineffective and worthless – truth be told, it was one of the few additions I didn’t care for.

Vampire Survivors Legacy of the Moonspell first five characters

As always, Legacy of the Moonspell, like Vampire Survivors’ core experience, isn’t aiming for stunning graphics – frankly, that’s not what they were built to do. Rather, they’re relying on nostalgia with their 8-to-16-bit era pixel presentation alongside the fast-paced action and ability to fit hundreds of enemies onscreen at once. There’s no denying that poncle is using their art style to maximum effect here.

I’d be lying if I said Legacy of the Moonspell’s price point wasn’t a major selling point. At the time of this writing, the DLC is currently priced at $1.79 on Steam, marked down 20 cents from its regular price. Considering how cheap the main game already is, it makes the DLC a welcome bargain for your buck, especially if you’re already a Vampire Survivors fan.

Vampire Survivors Legacy of the Moonspell Babi Onna vs tengu and oni

As wonderful as it has been to wander around Mt. Moonspell, take in the visuals of its various environments, and learn the pathways and hidden crannies all around, the map did end up feeling a little repetitive after a while, especially after I’d found the coffin and the Night Sword. While there’s plenty of new unlockables and challenges included in Legacy of the Moonspell, I found myself still wanting for more in terms of setting, despite the one new map in the DLC being by far the most varied and enjoyable in the whole game.

Overall, this DLC takes everything that made the base game of Vampire Survivors such a surprise success story and gives you more of the same, but with a more involved map and a theme to bring the whole thing together. If you’re one of the many who has been enthralled with the allure of Vampire Survivors, you’re going to appreciate the additional content that poncle has thrown in here, and with a price point set at less than $2.00, there’s very little reason for any fan to stay away.

NEXT: DualShockers Game Of The Year Editor’s Choice — Matthew Schomer



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