This free Vampire Survivors clone has one thing nobody knew it needed: Vtubers

HoloCure character surrouned by enemies and a squirrel boss
(Image credit: KayAnimate)

Out of all the action roguelikes that ape Vampire Survivors' style, HoloCure is the only one to infuse it with vtubers, the streamers who use 2D anime avatars you've probably seen all over Twitch and YouTube. But even if you aren't familiar with the vtuber agency that employs these ones, Hololive, HoloCure is surprisingly slick to play–and it's completely free.

HoloCure started as an early access fan game last year and exploded in popularity once Hololive's vtubers started playing it on their streams. All 38 of its pixel-art characters are based on Hololive's popular vtubers, like Gawr Gura and Usada Pekora, and it has tons of references for fans. Gawr Gura, for example, is a shark girl from Atlantis that attacks with a trident and can summon a massive shark that wipes out an entire screen of enemies.

You only start off with five (of 38) vtubers to play as, but you pick up coins to gacha roll for more. Those same coins can be used to raise basic stats like health, movement speed, and defense, or upgrades that let you enhance your weapons within a stage. HoloCure has most of the upgrades and items you'd expect in a Vampire Survivors-like game, but it's all wrapped up in a goofy, colorful style.

Once you drop into a stage and start auto-attacking skeletons and other vtuber mascots, you level up and gain new powers. As the Ninomae Ina'nis, a vtuber that looks like Cthulhu if they were an anime girl, I was not only slapping people with my giant tentacle, but dropping AoE lava buckets and using her own tears to knock back enemies. Once you're several minutes into a run, your screen will be stuffed with all sorts of enemies, abilities, and massive bosses chasing you around. Most of the fun is seeing what everything does and trying to come up with effective combinations of abilities and attacks.

HoloCure's lead developer, Kay Yu, was the lead animator on River City Girls and it shows. Hololive's vtubers all have lore and are based on things like mythical creatures or concepts, like a phoenix or chaos, and the attacks and items in the game emphasize that. It's basically like playing Smash Bros if all the Nintendo characters had YouTube channels.

You're definitely not required to know anything about the characters or vtubers in general to have fun with it though. HoloCure is a satisfying little game to load up and play if you've already squeezed Vampire Survivors dry or have been desperate for one of these with some new quirks.

The game isn't quite finished yet, but today it made its debut on Steam. Kay Yu and the rest of the team have been adding new vtubers and features for over a year now. You can follow the HoloCure Twitter (X?) account for updates and teasers on what's being added next. 

Holocure is available for free on Steam

Associate Editor

Tyler has covered games, games culture, and hardware for over a decade before joining PC Gamer as Associate Editor. He's done in-depth reporting on communities and games as well as criticism for sites like Polygon, Wired, and Waypoint. He's interested in the weird and the fascinating when it comes to games, spending time probing for stories and talking to the people involved. Tyler loves sinking into games like Final Fantasy 14, Overwatch, and Dark Souls to see what makes them tick and pluck out the parts worth talking about. His goal is to talk about games the way they are: broken, beautiful, and bizarre.