Indie developer Puppy Games' PC/PS3/4/Vita title Titan Attacks! sounds like a game tailored directly to my tastes: I love old score attack arcade games, Space Invaders, and hyper retro revivals, from true sequels like Pac-Man CE to spiritual sequels like Resogun. Titan Attacks! takes the basic Space Invaders formula of shooting down perpetually descending waves of monsters, gives it flashy visuals, and updates it with pop gaming trends like stat building. It runs well and its core game mechanics are fine on the surface, but once I spent more than a few minutes with it, I quickly grew bored. Titan Attacks! is almost a perfect storm of "what not to do in an arcade game."
Space Invaders has been an iconic arcade mainstay since its initial release in 1978. It's incredibly simple and straightforward, with clear scoring, a difficulty level that ramps up quickly, and memorable art design. Its presence in pop culture and in game design philosophy makes it one of the most important games of all time, and it's been oft imitated. I've got no issues with someone essentially remaking Space Invaders in their own image; the original version's one of my favorites, but I'm always happy to see a new take on it.
|Text obscures the action too often.|
|Your main threat is not being able to see what's happening.|
|Mars, one of the game's five worlds.|
The goal of the game is to make it through a complete wave without getting hit, which raises your points multiplier. It can increase up to 9x. This should make for competitive score attacks, but this is yet another place the game falls on its face. A good score attack game is quick and painless, and will only last an hour per life for the best players. With Titan Attacks!, it took me a couple of hours spread across two days before I was finally killed by a boss on the 340th stage. Since stages loop infinitely, so if you're good enough to survive (or just save and quit when you're in danger, which restores your shields/bombs) you can keep playing indefinitely. I made it this far on my very first time playing. The leaderboards are already filled with people who have maxed out the score counter (which wouldn't take more than four loops through the game's 100 stages, since beating it doubles your score) after two days. I've got zero interest in trying to beat my score if doing so means hours of grinding through the game again.
|That's not a Titan Attacks! trophy.|
|The shop. Also not a Titan Attacks! trophy.|