Upon starting Titan Attacks, it because abundantly clear exactly what I was up against. A game which tested my ability to remain calm and my will to go on by fusing fast paced shooting and addictive gameplay into intense sessions, with the end result being my thumb twitching long after play thanks to constantly mashing the same button for hours on end.
Titan Attacks was supposed to be a game that would provide me with a distraction to all the massive AAA games out there that require serious concentration, but instead it ended up drawing me in deeply by taking a classic game of Space Invaders and turning it on its head completely. At first glance, Titan Attacks may well appear as nothing more than a Space Invaders clone, but on closer inspection it becomes clear that Puppy Games have done more than make HD Space Invaders here. The ability to shoot space ships which continuously drop down to a dangerously low level is here of course, however the game makes things much more interesting with an engrossing upgrade system.
Whereas Space Invaders has players shooting down enemies and moving on to the next, Titan Attacks makes things much more fascinating by giving players the ability to cause havoc with brand new weapon parts, upgraded power and increased fire rate, to name a few such upgrades. What makes the game so interesting regarding these upgrades however, is the risk/reward system that comes with making your tank/robot/ship thing so powerful. At many times I was faced with the decision to either upgrade a certain part or add another shield to keep me safe for another wave of the hectic game. These upgrades do not come cheap however, and money must be earned by shooting down the multitude of alien spaceships that bring serious force in later levels. There are other ways to earn some extra dollars, though these bring more big changes to Titan Attacks.
Throughout the game, occasionally an alien might jump out of his ship in an attempt to parachute to safety. When this happens the player has three choices that are presented, which give the player a very limited amount of time to either shoot the alien down (meaning a delightful little animation and sound effect very clearly signifying the demise of the poor green man), collect him for a cash bonus, or let him go. The only option here should be to collect him though,since the others present no reward with the option of freedom even granting a cash penalty to the player. Despite all of these options, capturing the falling alien is a lot more difficult than one might assume,with no thanks to heavy downwards fire from many directions. I quickly discovered though, that when the alien does get collected continuously and the multiplier remains high, the cash soon flows, making the alien capture a key element to the game. Some might find this frustrating, but I felt it added a whole new layer of challenge to an already demanding game.
The other way of gaining bonus equipment and cash is the bonus levels which welcomely break up the gun fire with several rows of flying saucers (which seem to look more like tinted clouds) which need to be shot down. Though the saucers do not shoot down, they do get pretty fast and shooting them all is a difficult task to say the least, and I myself only managed it once and it felt pretty good to get the top prize. Though this was a nice distraction from the insanity in the main game, I did feel cheated on more than one occasion. I cold have sworn that I had shot the saucers and yet the bullets just fired straight through the middle. Had this happened once I would have put it down to a lack in my own skill, however this happened multiple times which I found quite frustrating. The hit detection was definitely off here, but when things did go smooth the bonus levels were pretty fun.
In terms of the graphics in Titan Attacks, the game does not exactly try to push the system to its limits, but it still manages to charm by focusing on gameplay. Titan Attacks is not a graphically focused game, but that does not take away my disappointment with the lack of 3D support. I feel like a game in which the focus is shooting down aliens could have benefited greatly from 3D, and so it was a major downfall for me.
In terms of the audio in the game, much like the graphics Titan Attacks does not try to wow with it. Instead it works with what it has, and with that said, the sound in the game can make sessions pretty tense in later levels when all hell rains down. Indeed, things go insanely tense in the game, especially on boss stages which almost had me giving up. Being the determined chap I am however, I pushed through despite losing count at how many times I was angered by certain levels (ahem, moon boss).
Titan Attacks is a good game, it will definitely cause some incredible frustration and despite the game being able to be finished in a matter of hours, (and for the sake of sanity) I would whole heartedly recommend playing it in sections across each of the five zones over a steady period. If you want a Space Invaders clone with a little more to it, then it’s hard to fault Titan Attacks for all that it delivers.
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Review Statement: The author of this review was provided a code for the game by the publisher for the purpose of this review.