January 27, 2023

Vampire Survivors new 0.10.0 update adds a cheats menu, and after using it to unlock some of the stuff I was stuck with, I really wish more games had one.

Vampire Survivors, if you’ve never heard of it, is a delightful game about leveling up and destroying literally thousands of monsters at once. I would describe it as roguelike; you choose a starting character with certain attributes and a specific weapon, and you increase that weapon, other weapons, and other items as you collect gems by defeating enemies. Your weapons fire automatically, so most of the time you just have to worry about picking up experience and items while dodging bad guys.

The game launched in Early Access on Steam late last year and has received regular updates that add things like new characters, weapons, power-ups, stages, and special items, although you usually have to unlock them by meeting certain requirements. The game is great, but unlocking everything can be challenging and time consuming. I’ve put in 40 hours already Vampire Survivors, but the in-game menu tells me I still have 26 things to unlock. When I look at that list sometimes I get demotivated and choose to play something else.

The new cheats menu – in the game it’s called the “Secrets” menu – could solve that demotivation in a big way. It accepts codes (“spells”) to unlock characters, special items (“relics”) and stages, meaning I can now choose what to unlock myself and what to cheat on. I still want to unlock most things by actually meeting the requirements, but there are a few things I just didn’t want to get involved in, and this secrets menu makes it easy for me to get to what I’m less interested in.

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The new Secrets menu in Vampire Survivors.
Screenshot by Jay Peters / The Verge

Smart, the developers of Vampire Survivors also chose to unlock the Secrets menu on its own. You won’t be able to find the item it unlocks until you understand the game well and have already unlocked some other things. If you’ve come this far, I’d say cheating is your choice, and I wish other games would take a similar approach.

I am playing Death Stranding right now, and while I love the story, the gameplay is moment to moment so slow. I wish I could trick a truck with infinite health, battery, and some sort of hover power so I could easily make deliveries and see the game’s story, but I guess I’ll have to spend hours and hours of frustrating displacements to learn what’s happening next to Sam Porter Bridges.

Vampire Survivors The secrets menu doesn’t just open unlockable items; there’s also a spell to spin the UI, which I appreciate because it’s silly even if it doesn’t sound fun to use at all. In the 0.10.0 patch notes, the developers say they are working on more spells, so hopefully more off-the-wall ideas will come. (Maybe big head mode?) I’m not going to tell you how to unlock the Secrets menu or what codes do what, but if you want to know, here’s a GameFAQs guide.

Vampire Survivors is available in Early Access on Steam for $3. It generally works quite well on Steam Deck, where it is one of the most popular games on the platformalthough I haven’t been able to enter cheat code spells on the portable gaming PC – I had to type in the codes on my MacBook Air.

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