Ah Curve, how you spoil us. With their recent output, Curve have been on somewhat of a hot streak. Producing games such as Lone Survivor, Stealth Inc, Proteus, Thomas Was Alone and more. Now granted, they haven’t developed them all and have been on the publishing side, but when you see the name Curve attached to a game, you do need to take notice.
So when Titan Attacks came on the radar, that is exactly what happened, yet unlike some of their previous output, the immediate appeal wasn’t quite there. On the surface this is a game that looks like a bog standard Space Invaders clone, which doesn’t really seem all that appealing, in a world where we have Space Invader Extreme and Space Invaders Infinity Gene.
Even when you first start playing, it is a game that feels like it is lacking that certain something. The two updated Space Invaders games both brought something new to the table and update the original concept by throwing amazing visuals and music into the mix, with added speed, to test your gaming reflexes, so when you come to a game like Titan Attacks, it originally just feels slow and wrong.
However, after beating a few levels, you realise this is almost pure Space Invaders and is a hell of a lot more challenging than you expected. Sure the enemies move at a slower pace and early levels can be cleared with ease, but as you move on, the way the enemies move, the various types there are, start to make this a really tough game to beat.
That concern you had, that this is a cheap clone is all but gone, as your concentration levels are at their maximum. Sure your eyes aren’t bleeding through blinding visuals and immense speed, but you feel a real danger to your craft as you dodge bullets, try to take down clusters of enemies, get those bonus points and just complete the stage. It grabs you and once it does, you are hooked.
There are some nice touches that do set it apart from a basic Space Invaders too. You earn money with every kill, get bonuses for taking down certain enemies and there are chances to collect aliens that may fall from some ships to again earn bonus points and money. This adds a risk vs reward element to proceedings, do you try and rescue that falling alien and risk being hit by enemy fire, or do you let him be and stay safe. By going for it, you may get extra money that will become useful for getting some all important upgrades.
You can upgrade various parts of your ship, such as buying extra shields which act as your lives, upgrading weapon power, smart bombs, etc. How you utilise these is important to your progression in the game, as spending everything on shields may keep you safer for longer, but it could mean that you need more hits on tougher enemies to take them down. Spending everything on weapon upgrades may see you take out enemies easier, but leaves you battling not to be hit.
In later levels getting this balance right is vital, as you can and will be bombarded by enemy fire and your reflexes need to be at their sharpest just to stay alive, whilst still trying to take down the enemies and finish the stage. The patterns they take in the game really have an effect too, as you see a mix of the usual left to right and back again types, the ships that move along the screen, others which bounce around the screen in a more random fashion and more. When these all start mixing it becomes a hell of a task to manage them, stay alive and win.
There are smart bombs which can be used to clear an entire level should things get too hectic or difficult and is useful for just moving on, however you won’t receive any bonuses or the like, which then means getting upgrades for the next level becomes harder and in turn makes the next level itself harder to beat. One such situation saw us with a single life left and a lot of enemies left, the smart bomb was used and the level cleared, but that left us with no money to upgrade and straight into the next stage with just that single life.
Titan Attacks is a re-imagining on a classic and whilst it doesn’t reach the height of Space Invaders, nor that game’s own modern updates, it does produce a wonderfully enjoyable game. It would be easy to dismiss it right from the off, but that would be doing it a disservice, because once it gets going, it is easy to lose hours to the game, as you test yourself time and time again to go further and get better.
It isn’t a classic must have title by any stretch, but for its price and the fact it is cross-buy on PS Vita, PS4 and PS3 means it does offer great value. It is best on the Vita though, as the gameplay and visual style works better on the smaller screen, but having the option there to play it on any of your Sony devices is great and hopefully something we’ll see a lot more of.
If you are hankering for some classic old school arcade fun, then you cannot go wrong with Titan Attacks, it isn’t perfect and it isn’t the best Space Invaders inspired game on the market, but it is more than worth your time and money.