Titan Souls

(1 customer review)


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Complete Review & Description

Titan Souls by Acid Nerve and Digital Devolver is as simple in nature as it is difficult to play. What’s baffling though is how a game that has the potential to be almost too easy can simultaneously be infuriatingly challenging.
It was born out of a game jam where the developers came up with an idea for a theme – “you only get one”. One arrow, one hit point, and one successful hit to a Titan’s weak spot to dispatch them and claim their soul for yourself. It’s a pity then that with such an interesting concept, the creators didn’t put more into balancing the difficulty curve a bit better, or showcasing the lore of the land – because there’s no real story to speak of.

You are a lone child armed with your wits, a bow, and a single indestructible arrow, dropped in a world with no information or useful guidance – save how to move and shoot. It’s never really clear why you’re there, but there you are, and it seems the only path forward requires you to defeat a final boss by indiscriminately killing enough Titans to open a few gates between you and them. Interestingly though, you don’t have to kill ALL the Titans, just enough to move forward, so be sure to keep checking the gates.
The only moves available to you are walk, dodge roll, run, fire your arrow, and summon it back to you. As you defeat the Titans you get to see a neat animation of you absorbing their soul, but this doesn’t grant you any special bonuses, only the lighting of a glyph at that section’s respawning circle. Light up enough of these glyphs between the different respawning circles that scatter the land, and eventually you’ll open one of the massive gates that stand in your way.
An interesting feature of Titan Souls is that the only enemies you will fight are the Titans. Each Titan is a boss unto itself, and they all have their own unique themes and clever strategies that you have to uncover before you’ll be able to take them out – that is of course if you don’t luck out and hit their weak spot a few seconds in.

Don’t be fooled however, before you master the game, for every Titan you kill quickly – between 0 and 5 deaths, you’ll have more than a few that will take 20-30+. There is no gradual learning curve, every fight from the start is tough, it’s just a matter of working out what you need to do to win.
However sometimes, even when you know exactly what you need to do, you’ll find yourself struggling to hit that killing blow – all the while an urge to snap your controller will rise as the charm of the game begins to fade, being replaced by rage and frustration… at least it did for me, gotta love it when you have to take a break to cool off between rounds.
An urge to snap your controller will rise as the charm of the game begins to fade, being replaced by rage and frustration
The world of Titan Souls is pretty big. As you explore the annoyingly large and empty gamespace, only massive mossy structures, scattered temples, and hidden paths fill the variety of beautifully pixelated landscapes.
I say annoyingly large because, although the entrances may be spread out this way if it were a real setting, here, in this game, there’s nothing to do but wander around looking for, and fighting the 20 or so Titans that inhabit these lands. The stretch between each battleground can also be unnecessarily long. This feeling of distance is compounded when you realize there’s no map to know where you are, or where you’re going, and that it’s possible to die within a few seconds of starting a fight, only to wind up back at a respawn location well away from the arena.

When you first begin, this distance doesn’t feel too bad. You rush in, start the fight, and if you don’t have a stroke of luck and accidentally strike their weak spot in a few seconds, you’ll soon die while learning their tactics. Then it becomes a lesson in trial and error, dying over and over again as you try desperately to get the timing down of several dodges, waiting as you drawn the bow string back, aim, and finally shoot before your window of opportunity closes.
Honestly, I really didn’t like how long it took to fire your bow. Even a quick shot felt like it took an age, especially when you only have a few seconds to summon your arrow and precisely shoot a tiny target on the other side of the room.
Before you know it, what started off as a charming quirk of the game – that of both you and the enemy have a single HP point (other than whatever feature stands between you and the weak point), suddenly becomes a lesson in frustration. Dying soon becomes nothing more than a chore. Die, sit through a loading screen, watch the respawn animation, run all the way back to the entrance, another loading screen, then start the fight again for the 20th+ time – frustrating.

All that aside, the music and general audio is quite nice. In fact, it did a nice job of soothing the rage of dying for the uptenth time, and helped me to continue more than once. The sloshing sound of slime bouncing around, the crunch of snow under your feet, or just listening for the moment before a Titan fires off their attack so you know when to dodge – there are lots of really nice and simple sounds. What’s more, they can be pretty useful.
Cross-Play and Cross-Save with the PS Vita also work quite nicely. There was a point where I had played and defeated several Titans the night before, only to not have them defeated when I synced the save to my Vita the next morning. But it’s possible I may not have closed the game down properly, and therefore didn’t actually save to the cloud, so just keep that in mind.
Playing on both the PS4 and Vita worked well, and other than a few black lines flashing now and then on the Vita, the only real graphical issue I had was that sometimes an arena might be so large that I found I would be controlling my character either right on the boundary of, or completely off screen. It was as though the game was trying to centre the screen between the Titan and myself, which led to more than a few irritating deaths by way of projectile attacks I couldn’t see coming.

I want to say it’s all worth it in the end, but it just isn’t. On the surface Titans Souls is full of charm, many interesting and challenging fights using a neat mechanic, and – if you manage to stick it out – the possibility of completing the entire game (even in hard or no dodge roll modes) in under an hour. But the many long walks with nothing to do, lack of a map, no real narrative, and certainly little feeling of accomplishment or reward upon defeating a Titan, on top of the rage inducing timing that is required with some of the fights leaves me feeling like this is a game needed a little more time in the oven.
Titan Souls can be fun to begin with, and although there aren’t any noticeable bugs, because there are so many things I found annoying, I can’t say it’s worth it if you’re just wanting a good time. Being as inexpensive as it is though, it might be worth picking up if you like your games deceptively, ridiculously challenging (right up until you work the puzzles out, and then it’s almost too easy). Otherwise, save your cash for another day, or until it’s on sale.

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1 review for Titan Souls

  1. Rafi

    I am a huge fan of this series and it is probably the best game of the series.

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