Not in any particular order, this will be a spot with answers to common questions. Got a question not answered here? Send it in, drop it in discord, or comment on the google sheet!

How is the data organized?

What's the difference between the main, archive and search views?

On the spreadsheet there is just one order, though you can try sorting by any column. It usually works best to copy it if you want to do sorting, as the non-editor views can have some display issues.

The website offers many ways to organize and view the database. The default 'index' view available at survivorslikes.com displays the entire database in the same order as the spreadsheet, split into several sections with their own sorting priority. For example, the topmost section sorts by combined review and similarity ranking position, while the unranked released games sort by number of steam reviews.

You can click on many different tags - like control style, run time or genre tags - and be taken to archive views. For example, the Mowing Game subgenre or games with 20 minute run time. These also are seperated into sections and sorted by the spreadsheet order - they just filter so you only see the games tagged in that taxonomy.

Finally, there is the search and filter view which is accessible by creating a custom search query through the search menu available in the top nav. This allows you to filter by any taxonomy, decide how you want the information sorted, how many results to see in one page and even apply your own custom search query to look for any text you want. The results display as you've decided, instead of the default sections. So that's a good way to resort the database if you want to compare unreleased games to released or other criteria!

Why are there so many unrelated games?

Call of Duty? Dwarf Fortress?

Elden Ring?

We needed a handful of games that are very different to make sure our comparison scores are actually working to generate correct results. These 10 games are marked as 'included to test the scale' in the descriptions. Since all 'the math' and data storage is done right on the sheet, these games are visible. Those rows might be hidden by default eventually and will be filtered out of many eventual views.

But they serve a few other purposes. They help us give examples in the scoring guide for what the low scores in the categories mean, and also examples of explaining different gameplay mechanics in the meta columns that are not in most survivors-likes but might be in a new indie game someone is trying to add.

They'll also help illustrate where games fall on the upcoming 2d and 3d graphs of the data.

What's -1 in Isometric mean? What does 0 in No Dodge mean?

Ah! You're looking for the Scoring Guide. It's got explanation and examples for each number score in each category

A detailed general explainer is also available, detailing the methodology and other notes for scale.

Why are games with a higher similarity percentage sometimes marked as very different? Isn't that illogical? How does "similarity guess" work?

We use the similarity scale score as a major metric in determining if a game is 'similar', but it's just one of the metrics. The primary purpose of the similarity taxonomy in the front end is to help people find games. While some content rich third person games, for example, may end up sharing a lot of features, it's possible for a straight up Vampire Survivors clone to be missing many. The clone would still be 'similar' in the tag if it shares many features in the genre and controls section, while having a low percentage of total possible points overall.

As far as the guesses, they go different to similar kind of like this: extremely different, very different, pretty different, different, a little different, similar. More or less.

Why do you call this a wiki? It seems subjective and isn't hosted on wiki software!

While we don't use any 'wiki' branded software, the project is hosted on free products (Google Sheet) and open source (WordPress). It's designed around the wiki philosophy that together through public collaboration we can build something more useful and informative. We're using a spreadsheet to manipulate more data in relation to other data, but you can see edit and discussion history and comment a correction on any cell. So while it's not hosted with 'traditional' wiki software, the solutions used intend to accomplish much of the wiki functionality. While most of it has been worked on by xoxomonstergirl getting it launched, calling it a wiki seemed like a good idea to encourage a community building mindset.

Why is this a spreadsheet and not a website?

Started as a project to have a fun spreadsheet to work on, there are other reasons this isn't a typical wiki. The biggest one being that you can view data on every single game in our list on one view and sort them all on the same list. There is no more efficient way for a human to actually read this amount of data than a table. There will be a 'front end' eventually though, when we have data on every game in the list. But it also IS a website now! you might even be reading the HTML Version!

Why is this on google sheets?

There are some significant downsides to google docs - mainly it doesn't work very well on mobile. But there is a huge upside: Complete transparency and version tracking for every day of updates and data for every individual cell. And most importantly, anyone can right click anywhere in the entire project - even this cell right here - and comment in a correction at any time.

Why don't you automatically import information from Steam? Why don't you import Tags?

There are some significant downsides to google docs - mainly it doesn't work very well on mobile. But there is a huge upside: Complete transparency and version tracking for every day of updates and data for every individual cell. And most importantly, anyone can right click anywhere in the entire project - even this cell right here - and comment in a correction at any time.

Why is the font size so small? How can I read this?

It's just a default font size more suited to this kind of comparative data work, but you can also zoom your browser in and out and it should adjust pretty well.

The website also has a font size 'zoom' toggle with 5 options that is separate from the layout, so you can try combinations of your browser and the font size changes. There's also a compact mode that shows more rows on the screen but increases some font sizes.

Finally you can also try toggling the paragraph font between monospace roboto and sans serif arial, depending on which you find easier to read.

Why isn't the steam review count in "popularity" accurate?

The most likely reason is this site is updated by hand and it's out of date. That applies to a lot of things! The other reason is probably because the reviews on steam are localized in terms of displayed statistics, likely because localization matters a lot for how games are received.

For example, if the english translation is very confusing, a game may get lower reviews from an english speaking audience. Usually we use the english review count number and percentage, but sometimes if a game has few reviews or I'm just curious and think language doesn't impact the gameplay, I'll look at the actual review count in all languages.

Why are sprites from my game in another game? / What is this sprite nonsense running all over the explainer pages?

Firstly, if you don't want your sprites on the wiki or only want them in your game page please just let me know! I tried to check with the games on the list and only take directly from devs or directly from other wiki sites. Some devs let me make new animations directly from sprite sheets!

When I was putting together the list, and especially the spreadsheet version, it was really sad that it was hard to get a good idea of what a game was like from just text. The steam header images help, but many of them don't really show what the game is like in game. And I really love the art in this genre!

While showing it in the game's review/notes area is great, many people don't expand the full table lines. So having the sprites in the section headers, main header, and through the explainer pages is another way to showcase the art. Each sprite can be clicked and it will tell you the name of the game. In the layout sections and the header they'll take you directly to the game's detailed view!

My hope is this will get people more interested in your game, appreciate the original art, and ideally become a new fan! After trying to place them in the layout I came upon the wonky idea to let them move and I thought it was fun to enter a high score table since there already was the script to detect the clips. But I have no intention of actually adding real game features - it just takes people to a reminder to buy the games on the 'leaderboard'!

I like to think of it as an educational minigame - you can play it like Memory and see how many sprites you recognize from in game! Each title can have up to 3 sprites. But there's no real way to lose or win. It's just a way to make sure users actually see the sprite names.

And again, just let us know if you prefer to not have sprites. You can also comment directly on the sheet, since the sprite links are publicly visible!

It can also be disabled while browsing by toggling 'fun' in the menu!

Can I make you a better website? Your code is.. unoptimized.

I wasn't originally planning on making a front end, but there was a lot of demand for functionality that crashes google sheets with this kind of data. That being said, at this point I'm proud of it. I succeeded in my design goal of having a website I could update entirely from a google sheet and ftp, without having to log into a CMS at all. I used a barebones wordpress theme since I already had to purchase an import plugin for other work. And now I've been tinkering with it so long that it feels like the closest thing I have these days to art.

With that being said I thrive on feedback and public comment and even decades into my career in 'data and user and survey crap' am always seeking mentorship and help. Especially around optimization! And I've intentionally designed around my desire to keep myself engaged in a way that's fun by also making all the data incredibly easy to manipulate and you can follow along with me to a crazy extent through the work journal and public comment. We can learn together!

Very much yes and very much no.

This is: Open to contribution, study and remixing, transparent, non-commercial, available for educational and journalistic use.

This is NOT: Open Source, copyright free, available to train your algorithm on

Even aside from the many months of full time work that has gone into this, the data is not morally mine to resell or yours to steal.

It goes without saying that direct surveys of this detail from approaching 100 different developers is very valuable information. The in game sprites are all copyright their original creators! I simply would not have gotten that participation if this was for profit or would be sold to a competitor. They all participated understanding it is for the community and we all learn from it. I will not monetize this information, but I WILL go to court if needed to prevent you from directly monetizing it. (perhaps with small exceptions for people who want to public research and then get paid normally for that like academics do, or a reporter writing an article about it.)

This work is licensed for noncommercial educational and academic use with attribution under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Please also notify us of any use - asking is always polite!

You can: Cite it, link it, import it into a variety of visualization software of any sort in order to display it in a new way as long as it clearly links back to survivorslikes.com. Please share your visualizations with us! We've love to embed them into the site or even host them if needed.

You CANNOT: Scrape this into a different wordpress or similar site with the express purpose of making a clone of our site at survivorslikes.com. Incorporate this into your AI training dataset for recommendation engine. Incorporate ANY of our scores or writing into metadata research for the purposes of selling to major game companies.

In other words: do not repackage my work and the work of our community and resell it as your own. We'll find out, it will be obvious so just simply include a link to and summary of our work if you need to reference it. It's that easy.

If your contracted boss at Blizzard (example) wants to see the data in a different way, they can hop in the discord and request a feature like anyone else, love to have em.

If you want data that's similar to this, but compared to a different game or genre, that's outside of the scope of this project. I do consulting though, so you could hit me up at xoxomonstergirl@gmail.com or again hop in the discord to find other expert nerds.

Vampire Survivors wasn't first actually, Magic Survival was. Why didn't you talk about Magic Survival?

This comes up a lot, but there's nothing in the spreadsheet to indicate that VS was first. In fact, the entire project is designed to show a clear lineage of similar games back decades - and help fans find those earlier games since they're a lot of fun!

This is already in the explainer at the bottom, but we'll go into more detail here.

- Magic Survival is not on steam and it's a list of steam games

- It wasn't actually the first with similar mechanics, just one game creator of VS mentioned in an interview as inspiring him in particular. We actually study a few dozen games with similar mechanics that came out years or even many decades before Vampire Survivors

- Vampire Survivors is incredibly more fully featured

- We specifically wanted to study accessibility and controls in PC games

- Most game developers, not just players, have played Vampire Survivors and are intentionally designing to be similar to Vampire Survivors, so it's more relevant for the developer survey and they'll be able to answer questions about how their game compares quicker and easier

- And that brings us back to player popularity as well. Vampire Survivors is massively massively massively popular, and it makes sense to compare to the game that is actually setting the baseline for the genre and not the game that technically had similar features first. after all, we don't call rogue-likes Beneath Apple Manor-likes or Oregon Trail-likes. Genre terms simply have nothing to do with what game is first, they have to do with which game becomes the one people use to compare to.

We can also see this in the fact that people more widely use the word 'survivors' not 'survival'-like, and in many languages there isn't a term like bullet heaven or horde survival, they simply essentially call games VS-likes

I was a bullet heaven term fan myself, but through the course of the research came to adopt the terms most widely in use to be able to communicate most effectively

Why isn't the scale more objective? How can you say what music is 'bumpin' and is that really needed to call something a survivors-like?

There was a lot of debate over this in the couple months where 10 boolean categories (yes no) became 60 21 choice likert scales. It's one of the most interesting parts of it to me so forgive me if I indulge in the chance to type a lot haha

So, two things, subjectivity and what to leave in to focus on similarity.

With first, with subjectivity, the problem was that without having some level of it (so much that there are literally columns labeled vibes now) we simply were churning out terrible measures of art. Art just isn't rocks or voter sentiment. It's inherently ineffable on some level when it's good.

But with a good enough methodology it is possible to measure in relatively more objective ways. First way is by splitting the more subjective categories into their own groups, then creating a scoring guide (not complete, but you can read about 30-40 pages of it it in a tab) to aid in keeping things relatively consistent. Stuff like 'isometric' is now separated from something like 'panic & zen'. We can attempt to define the terms, like in the Key it says the following:

Bumpin Music: This is pretty subjective so it's very easy for a game to get full score here if it makes a sincere attempt. This genre is full of amazing soundtracks with many games making the soundtrack available. Sometimes a soundtrack can be good but results in ear fatigue. We don't really measure how many tracks there are or how repetitive it is, and it's possible for a game to get a full score here with a sea shanty as much as pixel punk EDM. Does it fit the vibe and make you want to keep on surviving? It's probably bumpin' music.

And then finally we can administer the survey to as many people as possible about the same game, and eventually we have pretty good idea of how a game might be scored for that category. (That's the hope with the wiki and survey aspects). We also have gotten what the devs think from dev surveys, so if we're measuring game design intent, that figures in. Some games intend to have bumpin music, some have no music, some have airy orchestral ambience. These are more subjective, so we can measure. With a scoring guide with examples, once it gets to that category, we can keep the kind of fun summary names like 'bumpin music' but get really specific about how game so on all 20 pts of the scale might fall, with examples.

We can't have no music category, because a game can't be like a game with music if it doesn't have music. We don't want to specify the exact time signature of every track because that's not a good measure of art within a genre appealing to the same intentions. So we're somewhere in the middle.

We've picked one game to compare to. So people don't have to decide if a game has bumpin music, they can decide if the game has similar music to Vampire Survivors. That's why it's a measure of similarity to one game and not the platonic ideal.

After a lot of iterative analysis and rating more things and looking back and seeing if it makes sense, etc, adding a certain amount of subjectivity back in has resulted in much better recommendations coming out of the engine, and the groupings also make more sense for new games coming in after. It's a bit of push and pull!

TLDR: column headers are jokey but scoring is detailed. And we can only ever make guesses with statistics as I'm sure you know, but we can break things down and then ask a lot of people and make better guesses

Worth also keeping in mind it's not a list of categories important to survivors-likes (I'm not wading into that just yet), it's a list of characteristics of Vampire Survivors and then games compared to that game. It's way too early to be arguing about what makes an ideal survivors-like, and Whisker Squadron: Survivor is still tagged survivors-likes in our table for example. I'd say there are more 'clones' with shooting and aiming controls than without, but aiming and pulling the trigger is not a characteristic of Vampire Survivors, for example."

I have another question!

Cool! Send it in or ask it in the discord!