Titan Attacks! Review

Titan Attacks! was released on May 6th, for the PS3, PS4, and PS Vita. It had been previously released on the PC. The game was developed by Puppy Games and was ported to the PlayStation family by Curve Digital. A download code was provided for review purposes.

In Titan Attacks! studio Puppy Games puts a fresh modern twist on an old classic. They have styled their game after the old arcade game Space Invaders, but taken the idea into the 21st century. They’ve added an upgrade system for your ship, boss battles between stages, and much more. This is no lame port of an old coin-op shooter, it’s a fresh game all its own. The game may start simple, but it’s modern game mechanics give the game much needed versatility. Titan Attacks! might be an homage to the arcade games of yesteryear, but modernization make this much more than a just a Space Invaders remake.

The game plays out in a series of levels, each new level adding to the games difficulty. In traditional shoot ‘em up fashion, like this game is portraying, the enemy forces are shooting down at you while you are shooting up at them. Thankfully you are given a shield, so you can soak up a few hits before going Game Over. In each new level you are greeted with more enemies and new enemy types, and this causes the challenge to just keeps going up and up as you get further in. Every 20 levels though brings you head to head against a boss, and they are by far the hardest part of the game. Victory against the boss rewards you with a new stage and a new series of levels to play.

Titan Attacks! adds some pretty cool gameplay elements with it’s overall game design. The main draw to the game is to survive as long as possible, but a side objective is get a high score. The longer you go without taking damage allows you to rack up a multiplier, which is crucial for getting your score up. There are also other ways to boost your points but I won’t spoil all the surprises.

One of the things I disliked about the game was that the game doesn’t spoil any of the surprises either. It didn’t teach me about all of its mechanics as I played. One instance is when shooting down enemy ships occasionally the pilot bails and tries to parachute to safety. If you let this happen you lose a good chunk of money. If you shoot that sucker out of the air you save yourself from taking that loss. But what the game doesn’t teach you is that a third option exists which is to capture the alien with your ship. In a game where you are trying to avoid everything that is falling, I would never assume part of the game play is to let something land on the ship. The mechanic is described in the help menu, but on the main screen what are you going to hit first, the giant play button or the small help button? A little in-game tooltip is all they need. Its not game breaking, but it helps drastically pass through the games difficulty curve.

As I mentioned before a large draw to this game is going to be the new game mechanics, which a large part of that is the upgrade system, they certainly didn’t have that back in the arcade days. You start off as a pretty basic ship, the ability to shoot one bullet at a time and a few shield points. But as you acquire money from destroying more and more enemies you can add on new guns to your ship or buy bombs. It really allows you to customize the game to your own play style. This also helps you cope with the increase in difficulty in each new level. Each time you upgrade you actually feel more powerful. Going from only having one bullet on screen at a time to two is game changing.

One of my other complaints about the game are it’s bonus stages. Every about 7 levels you are “rewarded” with a bonus stage. The goal is to shoot down flying saucers, and you are teased that if you get a perfect score you will get a prize. These challenges though, feel more luck based than skill based. Even as your ship gets more attacking power, the saucers just get more speed and are harder to hit. Getting a perfect is near impossible. Lucky, I guess, the games lies to you and you really only need a score over 75% to get a prize, but even that is a hard feat.

Titan Attacks! is a solid game. It’s a fun modernization of an arcade idea from years past. With fresh game mechanics it feel very 21st century. A few game design choices hinder the game from being fully polished, but the action is fun regardless. Unless you like chasing high scores there is not a lot of replayability, but that doesn’t stop the game from always edging you on to try and improve your skills.

Score: 6.5