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Vampire Survivors’ Perplexing New Update Adds Holiday Cheer and Cart Racing

What’s behind that door?

key art from Vampire Survivors

When it was released in late 2021, no one could have predicted how far Vampire Survivors would go. From an obscure indie game with no buzz, it’s grown into a phenomenon, amassing legions of players and being featured in some of the biggest showcases in gaming. At the recent ID@Xbox showcase, Vampire Survivors didn’t just have a tease for its latest update — it actually announced that new content is coming to the game right away, ahead of its previously revealed Contra crossover, Operation Guns.

Dubbed the “Laborratory Update,” today’s Vampire Survivors patch is described as the game’s first “quadruple-A” update, a term as meaningless as the update is stuffed with new content. It includes two new characters (including a secret unlockable one), three weapons, and two new stages, one of which is inexplicably a cart racing minigame.

Finally, Vampire Survivors gets doors that actually open.

I would have thought the cart bonus stage was the most exciting part of the new update, but apparently I don’t know what I’m talking about because the developer, poncle, highlights its premier feature as “doors that open.” That’s right, Vampire Survivors is finally fixing the one problem that was evidently holding it back from being even more of a massive success by adding animations when your character goes through doors.

To go along with that world-changing achievement, it’s also getting running animations, so you can watch its new Christmas-themed character zip around the battlefield with legs that didn’t move. Oh, did I not mention that one of the new characters was Christmas-themed? Yes, the new non-secret addition to the cast is Santa Ladonna, who’s decked out in a red suit and lugging around a bag full of toys that are presumably soaked in holy water or garlic to keep vampires at bay.

It’s hard to compete with doors that actually open, but Vampire Survivors’ two new stages may actually have that revelation beat. First up is the Laborratory stage, which takes place in a secret weapons lab “overtaken by the forces of evil and a corrupted milk magician,” according to poncle.

Vampire Survivors’ surprise update adds cart racing on all available platforms.


As cool and creepy as that level looks in the new trailer, it’s the bonus stage that caught my attention. The Carlo Cart stage is “an abandoned underground railway station where lizardmen run clandestine go-cart races,” which is about as normal as Vampire Survivors level descriptions get. Along with mine carts to zip through the levels on while flinging boomerangs at monsters, Carlo Cart also features a massive train that runs through the environment, squashing anything unlucky enough to get caught in its path.

As if all that miraculous door-opening dropping today wasn’t enough, Vampire Survivors also reminded players of its next upcoming DLC during ID@Xbox. Vampire Survivors: Operation Guns brings characters from Konami’s classic Contra series to the reverse bullet hell game in May. It may not be as genre defining as today’s AAAA update, but getting to play as the 11 new characters it will introduce — including a robot werewolf with a weapon attached to his arm — still seems pretty cool. Operation Guns also brings 22 new weapons and introduces stages based on the Contra games when it launches on May 9.

Vampire Survivors is available now on Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC, iOS, and Android.

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