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Vampire Survivors: How to Beat the Bone Ball in the Bone Zone

Make the Bone Ball feel the cosmos when you take it down in Vampire Survivors' toughest challenge stage.

The Bone Zone is already one of the toughest challenge levels in Vampire Survivors. If you decide to take on the rolling ball of bones that randomly roams its southern half, that makes it even tougher. There’s a relic waiting for you if you succeed, however, so let’s go beat the “Bone Ball,” also known officially as the Sketamari.

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Vampire Survivors: Defeating the Sketamari in the Bone Zone

The Bone Zone challenge stage in Vampire Survivors first becomes available when you unlock Hyper Mode as an option for any three normal stages. Typically, this is a reward for defeating whatever miniboss shows up at a normal stage’s 25:00 mark.

In the Bone Zone, every enemy is some kind of skeleton, and no torches drop anything besides gold coins or bags. The only healing methods you’ve got are those that you bring in with you, such as the Sarabande of Healing Arcana.

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You can also stack the Bone Zone’s gold multiplier to 300% by enabling both Hyper and Inverse modes, which is the highest multiplier you can get on any stage in the base version of VS. It’s a nice stage for farming cash.

As soon as the Bone Zone is unlocked, you’ll likely notice its map has a white question mark on it, and that the question mark is moving. If you chase it down, you’ll find that it’s the Skelemari: a massive rolling bone ball.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

The Sketamari can absorb other nearby skeletons into itself, which makes it grow and increases its maximum HP. While this only happens if the Sketamari is on-screen, it can still mean trouble if you drag the fight out for long enough. The longer you’re in the Bone Zone, even with zero Curse or Charm, the more skeletons appear, which is more raw material for the Sketamari to absorb.

The Bone Ball is also immune to freeze effects like the Clock Lancet and instant-death spells. While Rosaries can’t drop in the Bone Zone, you could theoretically do something like suicide-dive Cosmo Pavone into the Sketamari, then revive to trigger a Rosary-style explosion. That won’t kill the Sketamari, however.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

That means you have to resort to simple violence, but there are a few tricks to bringing the Sketamari down.

The first is simple: VS is built in a way that makes it more difficult to survive if you’re constantly on the move, because you aren’t focusing on scoring kills and picking up experience gems. By its nature, you have to chase the Sketamari down.

Second, the Bone Zone has a couple of breakpoints where it suddenly gets much harder. At the 10:00 mark, one of the green Reapers, the Stalker, appears, and will continually chase you down for the next minute. It’s invincible to everything you’d logically have access to by this point in the level, except for the Pentagram or Victory Sword.

Screenshot by GameSkinny

Third, the Sketamari’s constant movement and random patterns make it difficult to hit with many of the best weapons in Vampire Survivors, many of which fire in random directions or auto-target the closest enemy. The Sketamari is easier to kill if you specialize in weapons that are ordinarily low-priority picks, particularly the Knife. If you manage to evolve the Knife into the Relentless Edge, you can simply chase down the Sketamari, hosing it down with flying knives until it’s destroyed.

All of this is making it sound easier to do than it is. Pick a character with a high base Move Speed stat, such as Big Trouser, and stay put for the first 10 minutes of the Bone Zone to come up with a decent build. Once you’ve got some protective relics and a decently leveled Knife, go chase the Sketamari down.

The first time you defeat the Sketamari, it drops a hidden relic, the Forbidden Scrolls of Morbane. This permanently unlocks the Secrets menu from VS’ startup screen, which gives you hints on how to unlock all of the game’s various hidden survivors.

That’s how and why to defeat the Bone Ball in the Bone Zone in Vampire Survivors. For other tips on surviving and chicken collection, consult our VS guides hub.

Featured image by GameSkinny.

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Thomas Wilde
Survival horror enthusiast. Veteran of the print era. Comic book nerd.