As far as most browser-based vampire games go, the majority cannot be described as anything but rudimentary, generic puzzle-based titles. A select few manage to make themselves into so much more, however, with Sun for the Vampire being one such title of significance. Its unique visual style is apparent before you’ve even begun to tackle your first puzzle – the well-designed home screen is a simple yet intriguing snapshot into the game’s style. What’s more intriguing, however, is that the game isn’t a simple click-to-manipulate physics-puzzle title. Its action is built around platforming elements such as item collection and level navigation, but with the level progression and reward system of a classic puzzle.
Before even speaking of the gameplay, it is apparent that the very concept of The Sun for the Vampire is unique. Rather than a game that has the vampire as the antagonist or the evil corrupter, it portrays the vampire as the protagonist: he’s just a cute little mini-vampire that desperately wants to see the sun, in contravention to the classic vampire-lore notion that the sun is harmful, if not deadly to vampires.
The game’s concept feeds nicely into its mechanics, too. Most physics puzzlers are staccato affairs that have separate levels with no direct relation to each other, lacking in a storyline to tie them together, or even a purpose that goes beyond simply that of winning each level. Each level in The Sun for the Vampire represents one more piece of the struggle for the vampire to escape his surroundings and see the light he so desperately yearns for. This kind of approach is similar to the top-quality platformer series for mobile, Cally’s Caves.
A little added challenge is also asked of you in the collecting of coins in each level, as well as objects such as keys to open up doors that would otherwise be inaccessible.
The mechanics of the gameplay themselves are quite imaginative. Movement of your character comes as the most standard interaction you can have with him, of course, and this is done by primarily using the directional arrows. Left and right cause him to move in the stated direction. You can walk normally across solid ground, but when you come to jumping down to ground or platforms lower than your level, you don’t fall but glide gracefully through the air. This allows you to reach certain platforms you would otherwise fall straight past, as well being useful for avoiding certain dangerous objects such as projectiles or blades (you’ll encounter these more often in later levels).
Not only can you utilise the vampire in his classic form, but you can also make him transform into a bat by pressing the Up arrow. The vampire bat form of your vampire is very useful for circumventing certain obstacles, and by the time you get to the likes of the immensely challenging Level 30, you’ll be required to perform some seriously skilled and controlled flying sequences interspersed with transforming back into the humanoid vampire form and back again, all in order to avoid dangerous projectiles as well as trigger various pressure switches and collect vital objects.
To top off this game’s multi-faceted, multi-dimensional gameplay mechanics, its design in general is also very impressive. It’s plain to see that every inch of the game, from the title screen to every corner of each level, has been meticulously designed. It’s got wonderfully varied textures, smooth edges, and not one sign of the garish, plain-textured, poorly-coloured examples of flash games that are ten a penny on the internet these days.
In fact, the game’s visual style is so polished and refined that it wouldn’t be out of place on the app store. However, it can’t be all praise without some balance. This may be a great vampire platform game to play, but it’s certainly not the best game when going up against rival platformers. For superior overall style, The Company of Myself is a game that comes to mind, and even Papa Louie 2: When Burgers Attack possesses a similar level of polish as The Sun for a Vampire.
For Vampire Platformer games, though, you’ll struggle to find a greater example of platforming excellence than The Sun for the Vampire. You can find the developer Eyesteam on Facebook for more of their finely-designed work.
Check out our review of The Sun and the Vampire 2 Monster’s Castle which is the hit follow up to the first game and includes extra mechanics in the gameplay which we found rewarding.