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Review: Silent Slayer: Vault Of The Vampire

I always get excited when Schell Games bring a new game to VR, and Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire looked like a new twist on mechanics they have done well before, but with some new touches. I have now been taking down some pesky Vampires, but does it drive the stake in deep enough?

Release Date: June 6th 2024
Developer: Schell Games
Publisher: Schell Games
Price: £14.99
Reviewed On: Meta Quest 3
* Access Provided For Review *

Stop The Ritual

In the game you will play a vampire hunter and at the start of the game a talking book will set out the task in front of you in this role. This is to take out a vampire family before their ritual is complete and they revival is placed upon the world. The book will also give a bit of information on each member of this vampire family tree you are work  your way through taking them down.

A Deadly Game Of Operation

Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire has a set gameplay loop, which although repeated keeps a fluid flow throughout. Each of the levels start with you putting together a broken Bind Stone, then you will be taken to the vampires chamber to unlock their coffin and drive a stake into their heart.

The Bind Stone element will see you putting together a 3D-puzzle, which at first are pretty simple, but by the end they can get quite complex and some patience is required as you try and figure these out. Once you have completed this the book will introduce any new tools you might need and then you can teleport to the chamber.

Once in the chamber and in front of the coffin, there is no need to explore to locate any tools or clues around the chamber. Instead you are greeted with what I would best explain as a take on the classic board game Operation – but the aim here is to actually kill a vampire than save the patient. Again taking out the vampire will start off simple, but like the Bind Stone the further you get the more tricky they become as more and more elements get added to the puzzles placed in front of you in order to Bind the vampire ready to pierce its heart.

So, why is like operation? Well the game is all about keeping a steady hand and being careful with every movement you make, too many errors or erratic movements will wake the sleeping vampire and then your dead. This will start out with moving some shackles from the coffin, which are metal blocks. These require a steady hand as you slide these out of place – move to fast or clumsily and a noise will sound and disturb the slumbering vampire. Then you will scan over the vampire with a rune stone to locate the heart and mark where it is, followed by tracing the pattern shown in front of you with the stake and then when it is shackled strike the stake into the heart.

As mentioned this starts out with this simple mission as you kill the lowest member of the family, but as you progress through the first five to six vampires it will add a new element to these puzzles, which all require just as a steady hand as the last. This will add things like prying out nails, cutting wires, hooking items and using an additional magic-imbued rune to hit the stake with to finish off the job. Again if you make too many errors or move too fast throughout every element that the level throws at you and its bye-bye neck and game over.

All of the elements added to the puzzles has allowed Schell Games to dig into their bag of experience from games like I Expect You To Die and the static puzzle design. Which really does shine and stand out as they add more and more to make getting to the vampire a lot harder. Which will include some of the vampires sensing you if you take too long in later puzzles – which personally can become a little frustrating, especially as you will start again if you fail. For the puzzles if you need a better a view or vantage point the table next you with all the tools you need for the current job has a blue bar. You can grab this to move you in which ever direction you need to help you with your task.

On top of the puzzles the team have added a slight horror element with the theme of killing vampires, the more dark settings and bats and spiders moving around to distract you as your trying to keep that steady hand. Then awaken the vampire and it’s going to end in a jump scare – sort of akin to Five Nights at Freddy’s Parts and Service levels in Help Wanted.

Spooky Haunts

When visiting the first chamber I personally wasn’t sure on the visuals, where the coffin and vampire looked detailed the rest all seemed a little bland. However, the haunts you visit all start to get a lot more detailed and match what you are told about the vampire by the book. At this point it all starts to come together to look pretty damn good inside of the HMD. The animation and details in the vampires as they rest, from twitches to little movements all bring the main element you are looking to to life and really immerses you in the game. Which is something the team have always done well in all the games they have developed and again their experience shows in this area.

You will get a shrieking violin noise when you make an error, which is matched with a pulsing sound and blood around the edge of your view point – which will calm down overtime and can be used to let you know when the last error is fully accounted for. Adding to these random noises around you like wind, bats and moving chains add to the tension as you work carefully in silence. Other than the sounds needed to set the scenes atmosphere, the book guiding you is very well voiced acted as he provides all the help and information required. However, the dialogue is little too slow paced for me and I feel it could have been at a slightly faster pace – as I found it easy to become a little distracted and not listen to him all the way through.


The Verdict

Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire proves again that Schell Games understands what makes a great VR game and one that is comfortable for all levels of VR users, whilst keeping them fully immersed. From the great settings, the very detailed and well animated vampires that writhe in pain as you drive the stake into their heart and they turn to ash in front of you. With puzzles that start of easy, but soon start to get more difficult as you progress and it adds more elements that can alert your sleeping target. With a good mix of a horror-esc atmosphere and well designed puzzles it will keep you engaged all the way through from start to end.