Wednesday, January 14, 2015

#52GameChallenge - Titan Attacks!

At a young age I was introduced to the world of gaming. Those who read this blog know that my first console experience was with the Sega Genesis, but what I haven’t expressed is how much arcade games were introduced into my life at the exact same time. I can recall begging my mom at the age of 6 for quarters to play Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Ivan “Ironman” Stewart’s Super Off Road (anyone remember those?), and X-Men. Once my parents saw my love for the old uprights, they introduced me to their favorite classics like Joust, Donkey Kong, and Centipede. However, none stuck with me more than the all-time great shooter, Galaga, which remains one of my all-time favorite arcade games to this day.

So it’s no surprise that I would find myself pleasantly surprised when I began playing Titan Attacks! for the PS3 as my 2nd game of the #52GameChallenge. That’s because Titan Attacks! blends what people loved about classic arcade shooters like Galaga and Space Invaders into a neat little HD package. Where a lot of games (including shoot ‘em ups) are trying to create the next big thing and change their gameplay in new and sometimes bizarre ways, the folks at Puppy Games knew that all a game needs to be fun sometimes is addictive gameplay that’s easy to learn and tough to master.

Well they certainly nailed it with Titan Attacks! It may not be as difficult as it’s forefathers in the shoot ‘em up genre, but it’s still completely addictive and loads of fun. The game starts slow, and I mean really slow, with your ship about as dangerous and deadly as a marshmallow gun. However, it progressively ramps up the complexity and difficulty to the point where you’re making skill shots and avoiding enemy fire without blinking or even knowing how you’re pulling it off. It got to the point where I felt almost unstoppable and wanted the game to keep throwing increasingly difficult scenarios at me until it killed me.

Whoops, wrong "Attack" and wrong "Titan". If only Titan Attacks! had as much action...

Unfortunately, one of the biggest weaknesses of Titan Attacks! is that it’s terribly short. I was able to get through 100 waves and collect all the trophies in a couple of hours, which wouldn't be an issue except that once you hit 100 waves, the game starts you back at the easy levels with your beefed up destroyer of a ship. You can only play the same 100 waves over and over again which doesn't give the game much replayability. I wasn't even that tempted to try and get a better high score, which is one thing Titan Attacks! failed to bring over from its predecessors (I obsess over high scores when I play Galaga in the arcade).

The other major drawback of Titan Attacks! is its difficulty, or rather lack thereof. Once you get to about the midpoint of the game you’ll find some of the waves challenging, and a couple of the boss battles can leave you with barely a shield left when you achieve victory, but for the other 80% of the game it’s closer to “ho-hum” than “IF I BLINK I’M DEAD!” I don’t think Puppy Games did a great job of balancing your potential ship upgrades and the wave difficulty in the latter stages of the game, leaving you feeling overpowered and bored.

Overall, I don’t think I would recommend this new take on the classic shoot ‘em up unless you could get the game for free (or a major cut from the $12 price tag). I did get a couple of enjoyable hours out of Titan Attacks!, and I was very pleased and nostalgic when I saw how it pays homage to great classics like Space Invaders and Galaga. I just wish that the experience could challenged me for more than just a 20 minute stretch of gameplay. It’s certainly enjoyable while it lasts, but the experience is just too short to warrant shelling out the asking price. Instead, I’d recommend finding a Galaga or Space Invaders cabinet nearby and dropping a few coins into that. Support your local arcade!

#52GameChallenge Progress: 2/52

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