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‘Titan Souls’ fails mightily into a game of reflexes with little reward

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Titan Souls
Developed by Acid Nerve
Published by Devolver Digital
Available on PC, Mac, PS Vita, PS4

From the first glance it is easy to see where Titan Souls‘ developer, Acid Nerve, took their inspiration. Their newest title, Titan Souls, borrows heavily from games such as Shadow of the Colossus and Dark Souls, but never deliverers the same level of reward. Titan Souls requires quick reflexes and great patience, although few will actually enjoy the journey.

Titan Souls puts the hero in an unfathomable situation. The tiny David to the mighty Goliath, he must systematically conquer mighty creatures. Equipped with only his trusty bow, he must enter the chambers of these mighty beasts and awaken them to begin the challenge. Many of the beasts seem to be resting undisturbed, only to be awakened by this tiny man and his single arrow. That’s about the extent of the story, one which is happy to take a back seat to the gameplay.

The battles make up the bulk of the Titan Souls experience. Players will navigate from one chamber to another, quickly dispatching these giant beasts, where the only reward is knowing you have one less titan to kill. The world is made up of 16-bit sprites and offers various hubs where the bosses can be found. Typical video game environments including a lava section, an ice section, and a forest are all included. Checkpoints are available outside of the boss encounters making the trek back to repeat the fights simple enough.

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The main character here only has his trusty arrow to defeat over a dozen massive enemies, but the battles become more about placement than actual strategy. The secret to the gameplay comes from this very arrow. The distance it travels is decided by how long the button for delivery is pressed; the longer the button is held the longer the arrow will fly. The arrow can be retrieved by running up to it or, alternatively. holding the same button that shot the arrow will gradually return it to the hero. The other ability the hero is given allows him to roll away from the frequent attacks.

Players can choose exactly which angle they decide to start each encounter, which can end even before it truly begins. Whereas the player needs to be only hit once to be sent back to one of the games’ many checkpoints, the mighty foes often have extremely telling hit boxes. These are often red areas on the foes that are exposed, telling players exactly where they need to hit. Titan Souls never finds the right balance with these hit boxes, since some are too easy to figure out, while others offer no hints at all and lead to frustratingly quitting the journey.

Dying comes very easy in Titan Souls. Often, seconds into an encounter, the trek back to the boss encounter will begin once again. Sadly, battles feel very much like luck rather than mastering a pattern and finally defeating that foe. There is so little reward for actually making it through the many titans that it is hard to recommend a trip into this world. A game with the same concept as Shadow of the Colossus has taken far too long to come into being and it’s all the more disappointing when said game fails to inspire.


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