Once in a while, an indie game comes out with a lot of hype attached. This hype warrants high expectations from gamers, but it isn't always a guarantee of quality. Does Titan Souls live up to its hype or is it nothing but an overrated disappointment?
You play as a hero who must defeat the titans with his trusty bow and arrow. That's about the entire plot that you're provided, so it's off to kill some titans! Visually, the game features a beautiful mix of 2D pixel-art and 3D models that blend seamlessly together. The environments are animated well since trees and grass sway in the breeze as you run around the game world. The hero and all of the titans also move fluidly which only further establishes the lively atmosphere. To accompany the lovely visuals, an equally brilliant orchestral score plays throughout your adventure. Sound effects are subtle yet suit the onscreen events wonderfully. Overall, it's a well produced package, but at times beauty is only skin deep.
Titan Souls is composed of an overworld and a series of boss fights. You control the hero by running around, rolling out of harm's way, and attacking by aiming and charging your bow. Although this sounds simple, using your bow effectively is ultimately a frustrating experience. This is due to the fact that there's no clear indication of where you're aiming, and using your bow requires some time to charge it. Merely tapping the attack button does nothing which is intensely irritating because when you're fighting a boss and are close enough to literally stab them with the arrow but don't have enough time to charge; you're basically screwed. The hero only has one all-powerful arrow so retrieving it is essential to success. Luckily, the little guy can magically draw it back to him by holding the attack button. One thing about the controls that drives me insane is how pausing does not indeed pause the game. A menu comes up and that's about it. They probably did this just because Dark Souls did it, too, but guess what? In Dark Souls, you can actually move your character when you're in the "pause" menu. Talk about adding frustration to an already aggravating control scheme.
As a side note, many have compared Titan Souls to Shadow of the Colossus since both games are mainly about taking down bosses. I don't find this comparison justified in the slightest because Shadow of the Colossus was set in a captivating world where you strategically and methodically take down enormous creatures and immediately feel guilty for ending their lives. It was sentimental and captivating while Titan Souls is ironically soulless and emotionally uninvolving. In fact, you'll slaughter the titans with nothing but retribution in your heart.
Titan Souls features a somewhat expansive overworld. Although it looks pretty, it's fundamentally a complete waste of time. There are absolutely no challenges that arise while slowly making your way to the next boss fight. Sure, there are a handful of obvious puzzles such as having to shoot a glowing spot and navigating an endless forest, so I guess if being lost in the woods is your cup of tea then you'll feel right at home in the world of Titan Souls. If the game was presented as just a menu where you select the next boss to take on then it would actually end up being more enjoyable. Watching the hero inch his way up the side of a mountain while knowing that a frustrating boss fight will eventually ensue is not my idea of fun. The contrast between the intense boss battles and the boredom that occurs in between is simply too much. You're either figuratively being beat down with apathy or literally being beat down with stone fists.
It's finally time to talk about the bosses. First off, they are undoubtedly interesting and unique. One hit can kill either you or your foe so most matches last well under a minute. The fact that you restart outside of the boss room and have to wander all the way back will quickly get on your nerves. Why can't I restart the battle immediately? This aspect is only the tip of the frustration iceberg. Upon first encountering a boss, you'll more than likely die immediately from an unexpected yet inevitable aggressive assault. Next time, you'll know how to dodge the attack but won't necessarily succeed. As you continue to retry again and again, you'll eventually realise how to defeat the boss but that doesn't mean that you will. This is due to many factors that add up to the randomness of being able to claim victory. Every boss shows its weak spot for a fraction of a second so charging and aiming your bow (with no indication of where you're aiming) results in you either missing entirely or simply being a bit too late. In the end, the luck factor plays a much more significant role than your skills ever will. Once you defeat a boss, it often doesn't feel satisfying as you'll just say to yourself, "It's about time!"
There's no denying that some gamers will enjoy their time with Titan Souls. However, its pointless overworld, luck-based boss fights, and frustrating controls are more than enough for the average hero to throw his bow and arrow at his television set.
- + Lovely mix of pixel-art and 3D graphics with fitting soundtrack and audio effects
- + The bosses are unique and quite interesting
- - Superficial overworld is a waste of time
- - Challenge only consists of relentless bosses that require more luck than skill to defeat
- - Aiming and charging the bow is frustrating