Puppy Games has been making its neon-styled retro shooters for a while now and it always seemed only a matter of time before they took the step on to console. Titan Attacks was the first game to make the jump and serves up its own take on the Space Invaders theme.
Set across five worlds, the player controls their tank at the bottom of the screen as enemies approach from the top. It may remind you of Space Invaders but aside from the obvious nods there is much more going on here than simply trying to produce a clone. The first thing to take into account is the scoring mechanic. A multiplier continually increases through the levels and when you take a hit it returns to zero.
You can also gain points and money by achieving skill shots. This occurs when you shoot an enemy and instead of it exploding it begins to fall to the ground. Shooting the careering vehicle may also see an alien jump out in a parachute; collecting these little guys will give you a further bonus, while letting them drift off the bottom of the screen will result in a penalty.
Any money you gain during a round can be spent before the next one starts. You’ll start off buying extra shields and smart bombs but the power-ups are extensive and you can add bits to your tank to fire rockets and lasers as well as giving yourself multiple shots or reducing the recharge time between firing. In truth, it can make the game a little easy towards the end but it’s always a fun way to spend a few minutes. The game also seems to have been slightly rebalanced to present more of a challenge in this 3DS version.
The game is set across five worlds, starting on Earth, moving onto the Moon, through Mars and Saturn before finishing on the alien home world. Every few levels you get a chance to get gain bonus points and prizes by shooting down special flying saucers and the end of each world sees you square off against a mother ship. The enemy types and patterns continually change and the later levels are hectic which helps to keep everything fresh and moving. The lack of 3D though is a bit of an issue as it makes the port seem less polished than it otherwise could have been.
There’s no denying this is a fun game while it lasts but there are a few things which hold it back from being a classic. Though the bosses are a bit tougher now, the game is still a little on the easy side and you’ll likely blast through it in a couple of attempts. It’s certainly fun and you do get to start again on harder versions of the levels but we were expecting a bit more of a challenge.
The second problem is that the scoring mechanic isn’t really intricate enough to cause the massive adrenaline rushes you can get from other games. There’s very little you can do if you’ve been building a multiplier and get hit, other than slowly build it up again. That’s fine for anyone who wants an enjoyable arcade shooter but for those looking for a game to master this will let you down.
Slight issues aside, the question that matters is, are you going to enjoy playing the game? The answer to which is yes you will, it’s a blast, with a fun style that cleverly evokes just enough of Space Invaders to hit the nostalgia button while producing something fresh. It won’t last you forever or put up that much of a challenge but for a fun few minutes of blasting, it certainly ticks all the right boxes. It’s also especially suited to handhelds. Overall, this is a good if not great game that everyone will enjoy. It’s a promising start from Puppy Games and we look forward to their next project.