Vampire Origins in Review – Vampires, eat lead… bronze… copper… oh yeah, silver!

Survival horror is one of the most underrepresented genres on the iDevice. Barring a couple of mediocre Resident Evil titles and the superb but short Fallen EP-1 there is really nothing to get the adrenaline flowing. Well, Chillingo decided to capitalise on this lack and released Vampire Origins, a game ambitiously dubbed “The most advanced survival horror to hit the app store”. Read on to find how “advanced” it really is.

I’ll be honest with you – while Vampire Origins is a solid Action/Shooter, it’s far from being a true Survival Horror game. Its story is a mix of clichés: an ancient Order, a murdered bride, a traitorous priest, and powerhungry vampires. You take control of Vincent – a vampire hunter trained by the ancient fathers to seek revenge for his lost love.

Vampire Origins’ three chapters are split into areas. In each area you’ll have to kill several waves of enemies before you progress further. The elimination process is punctuated by escape sequences where you have to quickly run through several previously cleared areas to reach a safe spot and then fight bosses. Your armoury includes: a handgun with unlimited ammo, a spread-fire shotgun, a punchy silver rifle, and a rapid-fire stake gun. Unfortunately, since the default handgun has no end of bullets in sight and deals a goodly amount of damage, there is little to no need for the other weapons.

Enemies range from the most common bats and zombies, to axe flinging dwarfs and huge vampires. However, most can be despatched by one or two shots and boss fights, while intriguing on the first go, turn out to be quite boring. The fact of the matter is – you don’t have any control over Vincent, instead you simply execute timed swipes in accordance with on-screen lines. That’s it – the fight goes on in the background depending on how well you do.

To add a bit of variety and exploration the developers added a “magic eye” function, activated by tapping-and-holding, which manifests itself in a magnifying-glass-like-arc. This allows you to check the surroundings for hidden items, powerups and scrolls. Talking about scrolls – there are 19 pages, scattered in the game that contain some backstory on vampires and add to the game’s atmosphere.

Graphics-wise Vampire Origins leaves a strange impression -not sure if it is because I was playing on a 3G iPhone or not, but zoomed-out models are considerably pixelated. On close-ups the game looks better, but still far from perfect. Even older iPhone models should be able to handle much more. The hand-drawn cutscenes and pre-rendered backgrounds on the other hand, look gorgeous and play flawlessly.

What I really like about Vampire Origins is the interface – it offers both dual-stick and 100% touch controls (the former sports some touch capabilities of its own). In dual-stick mode, you control Vincent using a virtual joystick and fire at the enemies using the fire button. Current targets are highlighted with a red mark. Additionally, you can tap an enemy for a quick shot or perform a roll by swiping in the desired direction. In touch mode, you can simply tap a spot to move Vincent and tap an enemy to shoot it.

While not holding up to the title of “Survival Horror”, Vampire Origins is still a solid Action/Shooter that should keep you entertained. Unfortunately an oddly powerful default weapon coupled with only a few hours of gameplay put a downer on gaming variety and fun. Hopefully the developers will add to the rest of the story soon, since at the moment, the game ends just when things are starting to get real interesting. On the upside, the gorgeous cutscenes and backgrounds, along with an involving (though cliché) storyline succeed in creating an atmospheric and fun action/shooter.

With this I declare Vampire Origins officially touched!

App Summary
Title: Vampire Origins Developer: Chillingo Ltd
Reviewed Ver: 1.0 Min OS Req: 3.1.2
Price: $6.99 App Size: 82.0 MB
  • Very atmospheric with gorgeous cutscenes and backgrounds
  • Intuitive controls, both dual-stick and touch-based
  • Fun an addictive gameplay
  • Crystal support with achievements
  • Imbalanced weapons
  • Boring boss battles
  • Too short
  • Poor model quality


A project manager in a major telecommunications supplier, an iPhone junkie and lately - a TMA editor. Love long walks on the beach and my wife, who is the most beautiful girl on the face of this planet. You can also follow me on twitter for all things iPhone and project management (and some personal stuff as well):

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