Tuesday, 16 December 2014

TITAN ATTACKS!: Gamertroll Review - PS4, PS3, Vita

Coming straight from the Disappointment of Resogun, Gamertroll was filled with dread at the realisation that Titan Attacks! (TA!) was yet another Jeff Minter-esque revamp of the old Space Invaders formula. Neon palettes, banging Techno and overstated blocky aesthetics.. you know the drill. 

Luckily that dread was unfounded, TA! has some great features that make it a far more entertaining than the dreary concept behind it would suggest.

Gamertroll is not suggesting for one second that Curve studios has pulled off anything revolutionary here because -bloody hell, they most certainly haven't. It's just that the tweaks they have implemented do actually make the game better than it should be. To be specific, some subtle additions give the game a more modern feel: your ship's response is quick and smooth, the moving objects on screen are more fluid and vividly represented. The points/cash for ship upgrades system hardly signifies an innovation but nevertheless adds motivation for the player to progress through the alien hoards.

Take your ship from this..
To this!
Rather than lives you have shields that can be restored using the cash you earned during each wave. Take too many hits and you'll haemorrhage your resources, seriously damaging your chance of upgrading your ship's offensive options.
If you do progress too far into the game without suitably investing in extra turrets, shot power and fire rates: you will be screwed.

So there Gamertroll was, having just upset some Defender fans by slating Resogun in his last review, there was a palpable feeling of happiness that he could now at least deliver a far more positive review for those retro arcade fans about TA! 

But just like when one innocently walks into a pre-farted room: that happiness suddenly vanished..

Gamertroll made the mistake of playing Titan Attacks! twice.

You see, it's possible to save your game to return to the action later and as such Gamertroll had really only been returning to his first go. In that last visit to his first go (!) Gamertroll was finally killed by the mothership boss on wave 100 having fully upgraded every weapon system possible.

Look Mom! no Hi-scores.
There-in lies the first problem, you can see everything in the game on your very first attempt. Swift on the heels of that came the next huge problem: The Hi-score Boards don't work properly.. a minute after dying Gamertroll's score evaporated off the table leaving just a solitary, seemingly random online player's score at the top of the screen (see screenshot).

Once you've made it to wave 100 and purchased every possible upgrade for your ship, Hi-score is the only thing left to play the game for. By snatching away that final motivation to play again, TA! scuppers itself. 

Sadly game Devs' Sinking their own ship is nothing new these days. How is it that some recent retro releases have Hi-score boards either broken or missing? The very first Video game ever, 'Computer Space', made some 42 years ago had a functioning scoreboard for fuck sakes! Only a few months ago Gamertroll had to berate Popcap games for forgetting to include Hi-score tables or online leaderboards in Peggle 2 - have these small developers got their heads stuck up their arses? This worrying new trend is stupid beyond expression.

I hate to say this.. but there's yet another sucking gape of a problem. The worst in fact. TA! was free with the Psplus subscription a couple of weeks ago which was cool beans, but upon checking the normal purchase price for purposes of this this review Gamertroll nearly choked. Holy shit-in-a-bucket, I'll be damned if TA! Doesn't cost a penny under 15.99GBP!!. That's a king's ransom for what it offers. That's simply waaaaaaaaaay too much for a space Invaders clone.

Titan Attacks is a fairly good game despite those drawbacks described above but being as incredibly basic as it is, you'd have to be stark raving bonkers to shell out That price for it. If you ever see it up on PSN for less than a fiver, give it a go. Pay anything more and you'll be sorry.


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