October 7, 2022

Vampire Survivors’ The new 0.10.0 update adds a cheat menu, and after using it to unlock some things I was stuck on, I really wish more games included one.

Vampire Survivors, if you haven’t heard of it, is a fun game about leveling up and destroying literally thousands of monsters in a single run. I would describe it as a scam. you choose a starting character with specific 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 have to worry about picking up experience and items while avoiding the 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, though you usually have to unlock them by completing certain requirements. The game is an absolute blast, but unlocking everything can be challenging and time consuming. I have already put in 40 hours Vampire Survivors, but the game menu tells me I still have 26 things to unlock. When I look at this list, I sometimes get discouraged and choose to play something else.

The new cheat menu – in-game, it’s called the “Secrets” menu – can solve this motivation in a big way. It accepts codes (“spells”) to unlock characters, special items (“relics”) and stages, which means I can now choose what I want to unlock and what to cheat on. I still want to unlock most things by actually completing the requirements, but there are a few things I didn’t want to mess with, and thanks to this Secrets menu, I can easily get what I’m less interested in.

The new Secrets menu on Vampire Survivors.
Snapshot by Jay Peters / The Verge

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

I am playing Death Stranding right now, and while I love the story, the moment to moment gameplay is Too late. I wish I could trick out a truck with infinite health, battery and some kind of hovering ability so I can easily make deliveries and see the game’s story, but I think I’ll have to suffer through hours of frustrating driving to find out what’s next to Sam Porter Bridges.

Vampire Survivors’ The secrets menu doesn’t just unlock unlockables. There’s also a UI rotation spell, which I can appreciate is silly even if it doesn’t sound like much fun to use. In the 0.10.0 patch notes, the developers say they’re working on more spells, so hopefully more off-the-wall ideas will come. (Maybe the big head mode?) I’m not going to spoil how to unlock the Secrets menu or what the codes do, but if you want to know, here is a GameFAQs guide.

Vampire Survivors is available in Early Access on Steam for $3. It generally works pretty well on Steam Deck, where it is one of the most popular games on the platformthough I couldn’t enter cheat code spells on my gaming laptop — I had to type the codes into my MacBook Air.

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