RPGs? Stats? Relationship meters? You hit your head pretty hard, survivor. Now get up, we’ve got zombies to kill.
As the sole (probably) survivor of whatever happened, it’s up to you to clean the city streets and take the fight back to the living dead with your arsenal of powerful weapons and power-ups. Habby’s mobile game Survivor.io features simple, yet engaging gameplay where there’s never a dull moment and even experienced veterans will find themselves bracing for the next horde event.
While Survivor.io reminds me of the wildly popular Vampire Survivors, but that’s not a bad thing. For those who are already familiar with Vampire Survivors, Survivor.io is very easy to pick up and play as most of the core concepts and strategies work for both games. And for new players that haven’t played Vampire Survivors (it’s cheap; do yourself a favor and grab it), welcome to the world of the self-created bullet hell! Be sure to stay with and read on for some useful tips, tricks and strategies to slay hordes of zombies and save the city in Survivor.io!
As I mentioned earlier, Survivor.io features very simple gameplay: all you need to do is hold out against hordes of enemies for a certain amount of time, and you clear the stage. Easy, right?
Don’t be intimidated: this game is tough, but it’s very rewarding, and most of all, it’s easy to learn. Let’s go over the basics: a solid foundation sets the stage for later victories.
All You Need Is Movement
All you can really do in Survivor.io is move. Your character fights on their own with whatever weapons they have equipped. Melee weapons will automatically be swung whenever they’re off cooldown, and projectiles follow their own targeting logic.
With that in mind, try to position your finger somewhere out of the way – I prefer the lower left or right of the screen myself. Movement is vital in swarm-type games like this; if you stop, you may as well give up and die.
Leveling and Gearing Up
You’re not completely helpless against the tides of undead. Every time you kill an enemy, they drop an experience gem. The tougher the foe, the better the gem: weak, common enemies drop green gems that give a smidge of exp, while more formidable enemies drop better blue gems and maybe even invaluable yellow gems.
As you collect these experience gems, your experience bar at the top of the screen will fill up, and once it’s full, you get a new level – which means a new choice of item. No survivor, vampire or not, is complete without a set of equipment. In Survivor.io, you have six weapon slots and six passive item slots. Weapons are indicated by a yellow card, while passive items have a green card.
Each level, you’ll be presented with 3 choices. By default, you can’t reroll these (you’ll need a specific evolution first). You cannot skip a choice, nor can you drop a weapon or passive item once you’ve taken it.
Each item has multiple levels. The more times you take an item, the more boosts it gets. These can range from straight linear upgrades (such as -8% cooldown per level) to more unorthodox fare (bigger projectiles, more projectiles, faster travel time, and so on). Both weapons and passive items have a maximum level of 5. This system also means that as you lose more open weapon and passive item slots, you’ll have a better chance of redrawing a particular item, making it easier to level that item up.
Bosses and Chests
Bosses appear every 5 minutes, and some wave will have minibosses, as denoted by their red aura and larger size. These enemies are top-level priorities as not only do they deal a lot more damage than regular mobs, but they also drop a chest when slain.
Chests contain either 1, 3, or 5 items, as well as a large lump sum of gold. When rolling for items, chests will only pick items that you already have, meaning you can’t get screwed out of a build due to bad chest RNG.
Even with all the boosts that items get from leveling up, they can only take you so far. That’s where weapon evolution comes in.
Each weapon in the game has a special relationship with a specific passive item. If you have that passive item as well as that maxed-out weapon, there’s a chance to draw that weapon’s evolution when you’re given the choice of selecting a card.
Evolved weapons completely replace their base forms, but are far, far stronger than their original incarnations. The downside of the evolution system is that you’re locked into taking certain passive items with active items…or you could choose to not evolve your items at all.
You can memorize the weapon evolutions you unlock, or you can also refer to the reminder text when selecting a level up reward. Any items you have that synergize and evolve with one of the available level up choices will have text below their cards.
Make Use of Pickups
As you move around, avoiding baddies and making a general mess of things, you may noticed some crates lying around. These crates contain pickups, which will be of much use to you.
Crates can drop four things. The most common item they’ll drop is money – the same stuff you earn from killing enemies and surviving. Money drops can either come in the form of a coin, or if you’re lucky, a sack.
Crates also drop three kinds of pickups. Meat restores a good chunk of HP, and is the only way to recover health by default. Magnets will attract every experience gem currently in the gameto you. Bombs will clear the screen of every enemy, and will damage bosses a fair deal.
And here are some general pointers that apply not only to Survivor.io, but to any game within the same genre.
Unless you’re completely walled in by hordes of enemies, it’s good advice to keep moving. Remember: enemies don’t drop pickups, so you need to destroy crates for pickups. And whether you have increased pickup range or not, you’ll need to move around to gather experience gems.
Your movement options are also dictated by how fast you can kill. With that in mind, it may be wise to dedicate one weapon slot to making and upgrading a weapon that will allow you to tunnel through a wall of enemies.
Offense Is The Best Defense
In swarm-type games like this one, the best way to stay alive is by killing enemies before they even have a chance to get near you. As such, offense is generally the best defense.
Remember: you only have six slots for weapons and six for passive upgrades. Any upgrade that impacts only survivability (such as increased HP) is going to eat up a valuable slot that could be used for more firepower. Careful play can mitigate a lot of the damage you would take anyway, so don’t hesitate to refuse that reduced damage effect in favor of increased attack speed. Alternately, if you’re planning to take a defensive item because you’ve been cornered or don’t have much of a choice, do your best to evolve a weapon with that item.
One exception to this rule, especially for new players, is the Forcefield + Energy Drink synergy. Energy Drink by itself is meh, with a slow regeneration boost per second. Where it comes in is when it’s used to evolve Forcefield into Force Barrier, which not only provides great protection against both mobs and projectiles, but also slows enemies down within its area of effect!
Use Your Pickups Wisely
Note that pickups do not timeout, but they can disappear if they’re off screen for too long.
With that in mind, it can be a good plan to destroy crates to find pickups that you’ll want later, then tweak your movement so that said pickups remain onscreen at all times.
Master The Time-Based Events
Everything in Survivor.io happens on a timer, from the enemy waves to increased spawns and even boss challenges. If you can memorize what comes out at what time, you’ll be better equipped to counter these enemy waves.
For reference (and if you’re having a tough time), here’s a list of stage one’s timed events.
|01:00||Small waves of 3 purple shooter enemies|
|1:30||Zombie dogs replace purple shooters|
|2:00||Horde: Regular zombies (increased spawns until 2:30)|
|3:00||Increased enemy spawns; one armored zombie mini-boss spawns; small waves of 5 purple shooters in a cross formation|
|4:00||Horde: Zombie dogs until 4:30, then back to regular zombies|
|5:00||Boss: Bouncebloom; regular zombies replaced with armored zombies|
|6:00||High amounts of regular zombies in circular formation surrounding the player; pink flies moving diagonally sweep through the screen|
|6:30||Circular zombie and pink fly waves stop, normal zombies replaced with armored zombies|
|7:00||Purple shooters begin spawning in|
|8:00||Horde: Lots of zombie dogs, one slug mini-boss. Horde lasts until 9:00|
|9:00||Regular zombies replaced by purple shooters|
|10:00||Boss: Devourer; regular zombies replaced by fast-moving red beetles|
|11:00||High amounts of red beetles in circular formation surrounding the player; pink flies moving diagonally sweep through the screen; one armored zombie mini-boss|
|11:30||Increased spawns stopped, normal zombies replaced by armored zombies|
|12:00||Increased spawn rate for armored zombies; one slug mini-boss|
|13:00||Armored zombies swapped for blue beetles, increased spawn rate for blue beetles; green flies moving diagonally sweep through the screen; one armored zombie mini-boss|
|14:00||Zombie dogs added to the spawn wave. Retains same spawn rates as 13:00.|
|15:00||Final Boss: Steelgnasher|
Adversity is Opportunity
Since we’re on the topic of timed events, knowing what will hit at what time gives you a huge advantage in that you can counterbuild for that wave. Immediate hordes of enemies aren’t very common, so use the opportunity to kill as many of them as you can and reap the rain of experience points.
A good example of this is in the image above – the zombie dogs come in full force at the 8 minute marker; if you have enough AOE weapons, such as a sufficiently powered Forcefield or Guardian, you can just plow through these dogs and reap a ton of rewards!
This can take some time and luck, as well as being able to remember what waves attack at what time, but give yourself a few rounds and you’ll find yourself planning out ways to maximize enemy spawns!
Use Your Resources
All of the gems and gold you collect while cleaning up the city aren’t just for show. By spending resources back in the main screen, you can give yourself the edge you need to clear difficult levels!
Survivor.io is a mobile game, so it should come as no surprise that it runs on an energy system.
Each attempt at a stage will cost you 5 energy. Energy replenishes slowly over time, but you can get a burst of it back by increasing your account level. To increase your account level, just play more.
Note that energy does have a cap!
Your character can also be outfitted with up to six pieces of equipment before starting a mission.
You have a slot for a weapon, body armor, belt, necklace, gloves, and boots. By equipping various pieces of gear, you can vastly improve the stats of your survivor, and have a better fighting chance. One thing to note here – the weapon you equip is automatically slotted as the first weapon when you start a stage. If you have no weapon equipped, you’ll be given a kunai for your first weapon slot. This also means that you’ll pretty much have to find a weapon that synergizes and evolves with a passive item you’d pretty much always take (like attack speed).
Each piece of equipment can also be leveled up, with its maximum level depending on its rarity – which, in ascending order, is Normal (white), Good (green), Better (blue), Excellent (purple), as well as the last two Red and Gold rarities. The higher an equipment’s level, the better the passive bonuses it imparts. Leveling up equipment uses up blueprints that you can get from patrols and clearing stages, as well as some of that gold you’ve been picking up.
A higher rarity also gives an item even bigger passive bonuses. When looking at a piece of equipment, you’ll notice some bonuses locked away behind colors, meaning that those bonuses are only unlocked if that equipment is of at least that rarity. This also means that rarer items will vastly outperform regular ones, given equal upgrade levels.
To get more equipment, you’ll need to use your gems to open crates in the shop. Alternately, you can open a free Army Crate and EDF Kit every so often (24 hour cooldown for the Army Crate and 4 days for the EDF Kit), which also makes you watch an ad. More often than not, you’ll get common items from these crates. Don’t despair though – you can fuse two of the same item and of the same rarity to get one of that item of the next rarity!
Gems aren’t just for buying equipment. You can also spend your hard-earned shiny stones on the evolution tree, which you can access via the rightmost button in the main menu.
At the Evolution Tree, you can buy simple yet potent passive abilities, such as increased attack damage, armor, and so on. More importantly, you can buy the ability to reroll level up rewards, which will help you get the the build and items you want sooner. Probably.
Note that you can only buy passives up to the same level as the last stage you’ve unlocked. This means that by default, you can buy level 1 passives, but you’ll need to finish stage 1 to buy level 2 passives.
Survivor.io has its own AFK farming mode, dubbed Patrol Mode.
This feature is unlocked once you’ve finished stage 1, and will allow you to reap the rewards of up to 16 hours of AFK time. The further you get in the game, the bigger Patrol Mode pays off – and it yields not only gold and experience, but also weapon blueprints – so don’t be afraid and keep pushing forward!
Victory Goes to The Bold!
Survivor.io is a simple game, and yet there’s a lot of fun to be had in it. Nothing quite scratches the itch of mowing down tens of thousands of mobs and reaping very rich rewards!
That concludes my Survivor.io beginner’s guide, and I hope you were able to pick something up from it. If you have any comments to add, or have any tips of your own, make yourself heard in the comments below!