Written by Twisted Ideas
There aren’t too many games complete focused on boss fights but Titan Souls wants that to change. Titan Souls, in essence is a 2D version of Shadow of the Colossus. You are a mysterious hero who explores a big world bringing down the Titans. Will this approach the highs of Shadow of the Colossus?
Developer: Acid Nerve
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Platforms: Linux, Mac, PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
What is it?
Titan Souls channels the feel of Shadow of The Colossus, a game where your out in the open looking to take down massive and varied monsters to serve your goal. Titan Souls
How does it play?
Titan Souls is a isometric action game where you search for mysterious titans, armed with only a single indestructible arrow to take kill them and take their souls. The core mechanic of Titan Souls is that you and the titans die in one hit. Most titans require problem solving to defeat. This leaves you at a disadvantage when you first fight a boss. You have to expertly avoid their attacks and prepare your arrow for the kill in small time frames.
The game has a minimalist approach. You have a roll/run button and a shoot button. When you shoot your arrow you have the ability to have it return to you by holding the shoot button. The arrow can defeat titans when returning back to you if positioned properly too.
The game starts off in an enclosed with four titans. Once they are defeated, the first gate opens leaving you to explore the vast world of Titan Souls while in search for more titans.
How does it look?
Titan Souls has a retro pixelated look. The everything in the world is well detailed and doesn’t look too much like a retro style game. The problem with the look is that nothing fills these environments. There are no wandering enemies and the most animation coming out of the world are large stone doors opening.
The titan designs are varied. Most have simplistic looks but some are quite complex and look great. Most (if not all) titans use 3D models. The contrast between the 2D backgrounds and the 3D titans is a little jarring but the 3D models give the titans more fluid animations.
How does it sound?
The music is one of the game’s high points. The soundtrack is mostly composed of softer and soothing music, even during some boss fights where you would expect something with a faster beat.
What do I think?
Titan Souls has interesting mechanics that makes the game unique but holds it back leaving it feeling unsatisfying. The game is designed where you and titans can die in one hit; This leads to fights that can last a matter of seconds. If you learn how to beat the titans quickly, it’s a nice feeling but you hardly got to play. If titan fights take you a while it either means, you’re dying a lot, missing your shots or trying to live long enough to figure out how to win. The titans have a limited attack pattern so the fight rarely changes even if it lasts longer. Some boss heavy games where you die in one hit (like the fan games) usually has bosses that lasts long and changes as the fight progresses. You don’t get that in Titan Souls and it’s a significant change in feel.
Titan Souls is really a puzzle game that you have to play as an action game. That can be frustrating. Most titans make their weak points clear. The problem is that the window to kill them is so small that unless you have planned where you and the titan will be when they are exposed. The frustration isn’t helped by the fact that second long fights aren’t satisfying and when dying doesn’t leave you at the foot of the boss fight but at the last checkpoint where you need to laboriously walk back.
Titan Souls creates a world that can hold so many stories but it doesn’t. The game is desolate with curious climates so near each other but the world rarely engages you. This is a game where the story needs to be extrapolated from the worlds and what you seen read. There are games that do this well and ones that don’t. Titan Souls doesn’t do this well. The failure of the story is the limited context and how uneventful the story really is when unraveled. Fez had this problem too. Fez has great world building for under written lore.
Shadow of the Colossus does this type of storytelling well. These two games have similar themes but Shadow of the Colossus gives use more narrative to work with. You see the consequences of your actions and other. The world and the titans says a lot with saying very little to the player. With a well developed world you have the fun of constructing a story that makes sense of everything you see. There’s also a lot of room for interpretation. Titan Souls gives us so little that most people probably don’t care about learning more about the world.
Should you get it?
Titan Souls is a game with a good idea that holds it back. It’s challenging but mainly for the fact that you can die before you get the chance to even see how to kill a titan. The game took me less than three hours to complete. While there are extra game modes that make the game harder, that doesn’t make me what take my acceptable experience and make it more frustrating and unsatisfying. The game does have good production values and it’s worth a look but there are other downloadable game at the same price that offers more and is more fun than Titan Souls.