I love vampires, I love virtual reality, and I think that Schell Games are some of the best VR developers in the business. It made Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire an easy sell for me to check out, and after slaying all of its vicious blood-sucking nasties across its clever puzzling gameplay, I’m happy to report that Schell Games have another hit on their hands.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire puts players in the role of a slayer who has been tasked with breaking into the coffins of a cult of resting vampires in order to kill them, all whilst being led by a mysterious talking book that seems to be a bit TOO emotionally invested in their demise. The reason for this? You’ll find out as you play, with the book filling you in on the details of the clan of vampires along the way. Each vampire has their own backstory that lets players uncover the devious role they play within the cult, and whilst I wouldn’t say that Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire is a particularly story-driven experience, it was nice to have a bit of context to each resting bloodsucker that you kill.

The slaying of each vampire plays out across multiple processes, though it always kicks off with players piecing together a binding stone in order to reach the corresponding vampire. This is essentially a 3D puzzle, with the player told the shape that they are meant to create and then finding a way to put it together with the multitude of pieces at their disposal. It’s actually a pretty satisfying process, and whilst some binding stones took me a little longer to put together than I’d like to admit, it always felt good seeing each piece of the stone click into place.

It’s when you’re actually transported to the coffin of each vampire that things get REALLY interesting, with each having multiple lines of defence in place that the player will have to overcome. Things start off simple, with players having to lift metal blocks that are holding the coffin shut, pull out nails that are holding it in place, cut protective wires that protect the vampire inside of the coffin, or even remove a small idol that’ll occasionally scour its surroundings for any movements to alert its master, but each form of protection becomes more sophisticated and challenging to bypass as you progress through the game. Wires will become energised and require perfect timing to snip, metal blocks will take the form of shapes that have to be handled in a specific order, whilst you’ll also have to deal with multiple idols at the same time, just to list a few examples, with the game doing a really good job of keeping the experience interesting despite following the same gameplay loop throughout.

“It all makes for a simple experience that’s easy to get to grips with, but it’s so damn satisfying to perform each action required to get through the coffin’s defences that I found myself completely absorbed in the game.”

Thankfully, all of the tools that you need to deal with these problems are easily accessible via a handily placed table, with players using motion controls to access the likes of a pair of clippers to cut the wires, nail pullers to remove the nails, and a hook made of bone to reach and dispose of those dastardly idols. You’ll have to be VERY careful when performing these tasks though, and if you work too fast or accidentally nudge something along the way, it’s easy to wake up the vampire and find yourself their latest victim.

And when you finally get through a vampire’s defences? You’ll have to drive a stake into its heart to kill it, but this is also a multiple step process. First, you’ll have to use a magical heart in order to find the heartbeat of the vampire, which means leaning in carefully and moving the heart across its body whilst feeling for the controller’s vibrations. These vampires are tricky sorts – not only can they move their heart across their body to befuddle would-be slayers, but they can also have multiple heart beats at a time that demand multiple stakes to deal with. And once you’ve found the heartbeat? You’ll clear their last line of defence by using a stake to re-create the shapes of the sigils used to protect them, and then drive a stake into their heart. It’ll scream, lunge out at you, and give you one last fright, before turning into ash.

It all makes for a simple experience that’s easy to get to grips with, but it’s so damn satisfying to perform each action required to get through the coffin’s defences that I found myself completely absorbed in the game. You wouldn’t think that pulling nails out of a coffin would be particularly exciting, but ensuring you grab the nail at the perfect moment to stop it from falling and waking the resting vampire is surprisingly thrilling – ESPECIALLY when you deal with trick nails in the later levels that see multiple nails moving at a time. Cutting the wires is tantalising too, especially when you have to lean up close to them and find yourself face to face with a sleeping vampire when doing so, whilst grabbing the idols with a hook in-between its moments of monitoring its surroundings always put me on edge. It’s something that’d probably feel a bit ordinary in a normal game, but with the immersive nature of virtual reality adding to the thrills of Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire, it becomes a more exciting experience that’ll see you holding your breath in anticipation as you worry about waking the resting beast.

Check out some screenshots down below:

There are other little distractions to deal with along the way too, with creepy-crawly spiders occasionally dangling down from their web when you’re in the middle of performing an intricate task, bats bursting out of a coffin as you try to carefully open its doors, or even the vampire twitching in its sleep as you’re carefully trying to hook at an idol behind them. The first time that last one occurred I actually gasped, forcing me to lose grip of the hook and drop the idol, waking the vampire and giving me a nice little jump scare. I would have normally been frustrated at my failure, but I was so caught up with the fright of the moment that I couldn’t help but appreciate it.

That being said, there was nothing worse than failing when you were SO close to finishing off a vampire. Each failure means starting that coffin all over again, which could be a little tedious given how time-consuming some of the tasks can be. What was more frustrating was when some of these failures weren’t your fault, and I suffered a couple of instances when playing where the game’s physics going wayward caused me to die. Having an idol swing around manically for no reason when on the hook and fall off was a pain, but having a stake get stuck on the table and force movements that woke the vampire was even more frustrating (especially since it happened at the end of the most difficult level in the game). These issues weren’t common enough to feel like a real problem, but when the result of their occurrence is having to replay the level again, it’s hard not to get frustrated.

Still, it didn’t stop me from loving my time playing Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire, with the game offering a satisfyingly gripping puzzle-like experience that requires quick thinking and even quicker reactions from the player in order to survive. The tasks you complete are simple, but continually evolve to up the difficulty and keep you on your toes the further you progress. And the visuals? They’re top notch, with the vampires terrifying to encounter thanks to the grisly details of their appearance and the eerie castle architecture tying into the backstory of the vampire in some clever ways (my personal favourite was the masked vampire who was surrounded by portraits of its victims). It’s a shame you can’t go exploring your surroundings given the game’s setup as a stationary experience, but it at least makes it more accessible for virtual reality newbies.

Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire Review

Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire is a tense and exciting puzzler that’ll keep players on edge as they carefully take out a clan of bloodsuckers… or die trying. Carefully working your way through each vampire’s defences makes for a tantalisingly engrossing experience, whilst the variety of the tasks you have to complete and the way in which they evolve as you progress ensures repetition never kicks in.

And sure, it does have some iffy moments, especially when repeating a level for the third time or when the physics bug out and cause you to fail, but they’re small issues in what is otherwise a gripping virtual reality experience. It has quickly established itself as one of my favourite games on the Meta Quest 3, and whilst it won’t take you longer than three hours to beat, your time with Silent Slayer: Vault of the Vampire will certainly be memorable.

Developer: Schell Games
Publisher: Schell Games
Platform(s): Meta Quest 3 (Reviewed), Meta Quest 2, PC VR
Website: https://silentslayer.schellgames.com/