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League of Legends' new summer event is a loving send-up of Vampire Survivors that you've got to play

Available for a limited time, you'll be able to join the Anima Squad in what I feel is Riot's best summer event yet.

League of Legends Anima Squad header
Image credit: Riot Games

Heads up, League of Legends players and survival game fans! For the first time in history, you'll be able to come together in harmony thanks to the latest summer event coming to the MOBA. For a limited time, you'll be able to try out the Anima Squad PvE swarm mode, a loving send up of Vampire Survivors and other survival games.

Here's how it works. There are four stages in total, and you're given a starting roster of two characters from the Anima Squad (a specific skinline for League of Legends champions that's getting a major expansion alongside this event). Your job is to jump in and survive as long as you can, unlocking permanent upgrades, achivements, and new characters as you go. You can tackle it solo, butI was able to try out the mode earlier this month and I've got to say, it's a wicked fun co-operative side attraction away from the rift.

For those who haven't played Vampire Survivors or games of its ilk, they generally see you go into a top down arena and are tasked with surviving against waves of incoming enemies, each with their own attacks and quirks. Your basic attacks go out automatically, but in the League's swarm mode your champions also have two active abilities: one special attack and an ultimate ability. As you kill enemies and collect XP you level up, providing new upgrades and automatic attacks to help with the increased difficulty of incoming waves. Each stage has an end boss, and each finished run allows you to take coins you collect while playing and spend them on character-wide permanent upgrades that'll push you forward through the content.

The obvious point of merit here is that this mode is certainly not lazy - slapped together in an attempt to sell skins. A lot of love and effort has clearly gone in, with each character's swarm kit reflecting their regular move set, but tinkered to make sense in this new format. I had a lot of fun with the diverse cast: especially with Briar. Her skills revolve around self-healing and losing control, and made her a challenging - but devilishly fun - champion to tackle swarm with. Ranged characters like Jinx had their DPS carry feel translate well too, while tanks like Leona actually managed to feel like melee powerhouses, despite the obvious need to not hug every enemy you see.

League of Legends Swarm Leona screenshot
She looks and plays amazing. | Image credit: Riot Games

It's also technically impressive. It all runs in the client, and with that in mind the amount of units and VFX the mode can handle on-screen at the same time without it all chugging is impressive, considering how old League of Legends is. Speaking to journalists present, the devs behind the mode said they had to mess around with how the game identifies minions in the game to get it to work, resulting in far less resources being spent generating and maintaining the little enemies while they're on screen. Cool stuff!

As for the visuals, it's very bright and very lovely. Obviously this fits with the new skins, and selling these skins is obviously a major goal for Riot Games here, alongside making sure players have a great time and experience something a bit refreshing. It's not the skin set I would have picked, but it's probably one that'll prove mighty popular with the community. Even with my personal tastes, I do have to shout out the abyssal champion skins and swarm enemies, that seem to reflect this dark depths aquatic visual theme with a futuristic spin in a way that is undeniably pleasing.

Aatrox boss in League of Legends Swarm mode
Special shout out to the boss enemies too. | Image credit: Riot Games

It's well worth a try if you're a League of Vampire Surviviors fan. As for when you can do that, the game mode is coming to the PBE on June 25, and launching on public servers on July 17.

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