The new cheats menu in Vampire Survivors makes me wish more games had them Leave a comment

Vampire Survivors’ new 0.10.0 update adds a cheats menu, and after using it to unlock some things I had been stuck on, I dearly wish that more games included one.

Vampire Survivors, if you haven’t heard of it, is a delightful game about leveling up and destroying literally thousands of monsters in a single run. I’d describe it as roguelike-ish; you pick a starting character with certain attributes and a specific weapon, and you’ll level up that weapon, other weapons, and other items as you collect gems by defeating enemies. Your weapons fire automatically, so you mostly just have to worry about picking up experience and items while avoiding baddies.

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, though you typically have to unlock them by completing certain requirements. The game is an absolute blast, but unlocking everything can be challenging and time-consuming. I’ve already put 40 hours into Vampire Survivors, but the in-game menu tells me I still have 26 things I can unlock. When I look at that list, I sometimes get demotivated and choose to play something else.

The new cheats menu — in game, it’s called the “Secrets” menu — might solve that demotivation in a big way. It accepts codes (“spells”) to unlock characters, special items (“relics”), and stages, meaning that I now can choose what I want to unlock myself and what to just cheat for. I still want to unlock most things by actually completing the requirements, but there are a few things that I just haven’t wanted to bother with, and thanks to this Secrets menu, I can easily get what I’m less interested in.

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

Cleverly, the developers of Vampire Survivors also chose to make the Secrets menu an unlockable of its own. You won’t be able to find the item that unlocks it until you have a good grasp of the game and have unlocked some other things already. If you’ve gotten that far, I’d argue that you can make the choice about what to cheat for for yourself, and I wish other games would take a similar approach.

I’m playing Death Stranding right now, and while I love the story, the moment-by-moment gameplay is so slow. I wish I could cheat a truck with infinite health, battery, and some kind of hover ability so I could easily make deliveries and see the game’s story through, but I think I’m going to have to suffer through hours of frustrating traversal to learn what happens next to Sam Porter Bridges.

Vampire Survivors’ Secrets menu doesn’t just open up unlockables; there’s also a spell to spin the UI, which I can appreciate for being silly even if it doesn’t sound fun to use at all. In the 0.10.0 patch notes, the developers say they’re working on more spells, so hopefully there’s more off-the-wall ideas to come. (Big head mode, maybe?) I’m not going to spoil 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’s one of the most popular games on the platform, though I haven’t been able to enter any cheat code spells on the handheld gaming PC — I had to type in the codes on my MacBook Air.