Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire review (Early Access)

If you’re old like me (but not quite Vampiric old), the concept of vegetarian vampires goes back further than disturbed boys with fancy haircuts sparkling in the sunlight. Back in my day of the late 80’s and early 90’s – she says waving her walking stick at the clouds – we had the British cartoon Count Duckula, where the titular character substituted blood for lovely carrots covered in ketchup.

Though Duckula sung no overtures about “rights”, or compassion toward our food sources, his servant Igor was constantly justifiably disgusted as his master breaks tradition to become a blood dodger. And so it is with Voltaire, son of Dracula – the most infamously notorious of all blood-sucking villains.

Voltaire shuns the blood life, and after the initial “say, whaa?” wears off, Dracula not only shuns his child but also sends his GrimLords to teach them a permanent lesson in being un-alive. Voltaire must forage, grow, and protect their fruits and veggies while defending from Dracula’s minions.

Imagine Don’t Starve, with a bit of Atomicrops and Plants Vs Zombies thrown in for good measure.

Each day, I spent my time foraging for seeds by shaking bushes, digging my garden to create more plots, feeding the pond monster C’thul for more materials, and planting vegetables. At night, I would fight off ever-increasing hordes of monsters that are drawn to the sprouting seeds.

On the 7th night, a Grim Lord appears, spawning extra monsters and trouble. Not only are your crops at risk, but if your home becomes too damaged then it’s daisies for you. Voltaire doesn’t take damage, but is always at risk of overwhelming thirst, especially if all your crops are repeatedly destroyed. Badly managing your thirst causes the night cycle to trigger early, and spawn much stronger monsters (or maybe you’re just weaker from hunger) so it pays to keep on top of it. Defeating the Grim Lord will spawn a portal to move you to the next realm.

Planting creep crops with your veggies offers some offensive or defensive benefits, and finding the balance between food and firepower is important for survival. Defeating the monsters and minions provides XP which powers Voltaire up, allowing the player to pick a new perk that could help with protecting crops with traps, adding additional attacks, and more. Inside the home are some useful tools to give you an edge, the alchemy table provides more protective seeds, the cauldron composts unwanted seeds into experience, and the reliquary cabinet grants passive upgrades.

As an early access game, there is definitely scope to expand. There are only about a dozen crops with their counterpart monsters that come to tuck in so far, plus eight attack crops and eight bosses. You can gather resources but the only thing you can really build are wells, which become a bit irrelevant if you opt for a rainy biome the next time you kill a GrimLord. It would be nice to see some more things to build, and some variations of materials to expand on the crafting elements.

What is available now is solid, playable, and spooky cute fun. It could do with a few tweaks to things like drop rates for certain materials, and there are a couple of bugs that don’t break the game but do create small inconveniences such as C’thul not granting rewards when fed. It could also do with some balancing in terms of quests and rewards, but hopefully, this will all flesh out over time with later updates. There’s room to grow, and now I’ve had a taste of what’s on offer, my stomach rumbles for second helpings. 

Developed by Digitality Games and published by Freedom Games, Voltaire: The Vegan Vampire is currently in Early Access on Steam.