This Mortal Coyle
The character known as Gothic Writer from the mobile game Game of Vampires: Twilight Sun, sporting two neat braids and carrying a notebook.

The Gothic Writer from Game of Vampires

The cover of Unwinnable Monthly #175 shows artwork from Child of Light showing main character Aurora raising a sword triumphantly while standing on a rock outcropping.

This column is a reprint from Unwinnable Monthly #175. If you like what you see, grab the magazine for less than ten dollars, or subscribe and get all future magazines for half price.


Fictional companions and goth concerns.


A subcategory of this column might be called, “Am I Enjoying This?” This question haunts all my columns about mobile games, and this month will be no different.

Game of Vampires: Twilight Sun is a horrible little mobile game from DreamPlus, developers of Game of Sultans and Game of Khans.

Let’s be clear about what I mean by “horrible”: I hate it.

Let’s be clear about what I mean by “I hate it”: I cannot stop playing it.

As a vampire game, the art style is, naturally, high gothic. No notes. My current avatar looks like Wednesday Addams carrying a notebook; she’s labeled “Gothic Writer.” Again, no notes.

What’s horrible, in this gothic writer’s opinion, is the gameplay. Like other mobile games of its ilk, Game of Vampires involves tapping through frequent offers of in-game riches in exchange for IRL money. This is standard, but I hate it every time. Gameplay also involves gathering resources (tapping), wooing lovers (tapping) and tap-tapping through a plotline involving Dracula, Victor Frankenstein and Carmilla, a vampire presumably named after Sheridan le Fanu’s 1872 novel (see also: Hammer Horror’s Karnstein Trilogy). Many characters reference vampires of the pop cultural past: for example, “Saber,” a vampiric vampire hunter who looks suspiciously like Wesley Snipes’ Blade. There’s also a wavy-haired, brunette “Drusilla” who claims to have “dark delights to share with you.”

A dashing Black vampire (hunter?) presents himself as a possible date for the player character in Game of Vampires: Twilight Sun. His name is shown as Saber and he's been palette swapped just enough to avoid the IP infringement of a character whose name starts with "B" and ends with a "lade."

Every aspect of gameplay feels like collecting. Collecting resources (blood, nectar, bats), logically, but also collecting lovers, wardens and children (who sometimes appear after “dates” with your lovers).

The thinly veiled euphemism of “dates” is winkingly comical. “Dates” between you and one of your lovers are usually depicted as two silhouetted characters in a romantic setting – by a fireplace, or in nature – and when your “date” is about to result in the birth of a child, a heart-shaped vignette zooms in on your lover’s crotch area. And then there’s a baby – immediately!

One interesting element of the game’s romance system is the ability to choose your lovers’ gender on a case-by-case basis. Every lover-character’s story is the same, but you can selectively decide whom you want to see as masc and whom as femme. Only two genders are on offer, but it’s an element of dating sim gameplay that I, personally, have not encountered before. (Some of the male characters I think look like jerks, while their femme counterparts look like women I would chew off my own arm to know. See: Skylar/Scott.)

Do I love this game, or do I hate it? Am I being a downer because of latent mobile game snobbery? Do I simply hate tapping? (No, I love tapping.) Is my Gothic Writer avatar even someone I’d want to befriend? (Yes.)

Do I think this is good gameplay? No. But do I care about gameplay more than lush goth graphics and a collection of vampire lovers? I mean . . . I would prefer to enjoy gameplay and graphics, but I won’t pretend to require both. Maybe I’m just an aesthetic digital hoarder, but when I see the grayed-out lovers I have yet to collect, I know I must catch them all.

I guess that means I love it.


Deirdre Coyle is a goth living in the woods. Find her at or on Twitter @deirdrekoala.


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