Titan Souls is an action-puzzle game. You have one arrow, you can run and you can dodge roll. That’s it. The arrow functions in an interesting way; you can shoot the arrow, holding X/Sqaure to draw it back, and then let go to loose the arrow. Once it’s on the floor, you then hold in X to bring back to you, with magic or something, no one knows. This leads itself to some interesting game play. Sometimes, like in the The Giant Jelly Heart boss, on my subsequent attempts trying to get the boss down I would use the return pull of the arrow to split the jelly of the boss. This is how I ended up beating this boss.
I clocked in with 14 bosses down, something like 120 deaths, and about 3 hours played. There were a few bosses that gave me some trouble, some I beat in just a few tries, and some I beat on the first try. All of the encounters were extremely varied, having smart mechanics that tested your ability to observe minute details, as well as test your ability to act quickly. Sometimes needing to say, dodge a pair of giant stone fists, and then line up a shot in the span of about one second, or you get shot with a laser.
I think there are definitely optional bosses that I didn’t see. I know of two, there could be even more. The game after completion unlocks a few additional game modes, including a hard mode, a no run/dodge roll mode, and a one life mode. All of which sound impossible, but I’m glad they’re there.
Titan Souls ends up being quite the challenge, and for myself it ended up eliciting some similar feelings to beating particularly hard bosses in Souls Series games. There are some similarities you can draw between Titan Souls and the Souls Series. The punishing difficulty for one. Your ability to react in a small window to very specific actions of the opponent.
It’s a big jump between the two games, and really examining them, they’re not that similar in terms of game play. There’s no leveling up, only one attack, no big areas with little enemies to defeat. However, for me they seemed to draw from the same wheelhouse of skills, and when I beat a really hard boss, it gives you that same rush of pure accomplishment knowing you did something truly challenging.
For me Titan Souls is the game I’ve always wanted but never knew I did. It’s just difficult enough to make you feel incredibly accomplished, it is simple in its mechanics and uses them in smart and varied ways. Titan Souls is right up my alley. It doesn’t want to overwhelm you, or itself, with a big overly thought out story, or a bunch of enemies to defeat with no purpose other than to make the game feel bigger. One of the things I really love about Titan Souls is its no fuss, jump right into it style. It doesn’t waste your time, which in this day and age of 2015 video games, having your time not wasted is a great thing.
Titan Souls is short. I beat it in three hours, however, I died many many times. When you beat a boss, from activation to defeat is usually only 20-40 seconds. Realistically, I can see this game getting 100% speed run times of an hour, or less even.
Titan Souls has some really flawlessly designed encounters. It requires just the right amount of dexterity, skill and accuracy to get through and play. You never feel like the game cheapened you out when you die. You can usually always tell how it was your fault.
Titan Souls takes some cues in its visual design from things like The Legend of Zelda, and I even get some Yoshi’s Island vibes from it. (Mushroom boss, I’m looking at you.) The visual style is that “retro inspired pixel art” we’ve come to expect from small studios, and it does a decent job. The art wasn’t particularly much for me. It’s fine, and gets the job done. What does stand out is the soundtrack. While this game could have had a chiptune inspired soundtrack, it instead has what sounds like a fully orchestral score, and it’s really tip top. The boss fight music is intense, and full of big bursting moments. The field music selection is soft, and subtle and fits the mood of the areas you’re in very well. The soundtrack is one of this game’s high points.
Over all, Titan Souls is just a solid playing game. For me, it does a lot of things right, and very little wrong. It was a joy to play through these past few days, and each boss was engaging, challenging and fun. I would definitely pick this up; it was one of my favorite games I played this year.