When first looking at Titan Attacks!, you may do a double take and think that someone is playing Space Invaders, and while it may seem incredibly identical in concept, Titan Attacks! is like Space Invaders for the modern age. Even on its own website, developer Puppy Games states that Titan Attacks! is the best Space Invaders tribute ever, so they’re not trying to play this game off as something entirely original, but they have fun with borrowing many key elements while adding some unique twists of their own.
If you’re unfamiliar by now with how Space Invaders works, it’s a fairly simple concept that Titan Attacks! uses as well. You play as a ship, or in this case, a tank, that must shoot upward toward invading aliens that move side to side and slowly descend down upon you. Your main objective is to simply stop these aliens before they hit the ground. Where Titan Attacks! separates from its classic influence is by introducing modern features which marry classic gameplay with new conveniences and ideas.
The first thing I noticed when I started Titan Attacks! was that it had incredibly accurate and responsive controls. While its simplicity allows it to run fast, it’s refreshing to see a game with simple controls and tight mechanics in today’s age. I never felt like the game was what was beating me, and since there is rarely ever any lag, you can always expect a slick experience.
Titan Attacks! is a really, really pretty game. While its graphics are simple, the effects added are a nice complement to the old school design. Seeing neon asteroids explode during chaotic combat is a visual treat, and while it pays homage to how Space Invaders looked – even using a 4:3 aspect ratio - Titan Attacks! doesn’t abandon new graphical enhancements to add modern complements to a classic style. It’s a marriage that works incredibly well, and it looks especially gorgeous on the PS4 and even on the original Vita’s OLED screen.
Titan Attacks! features upgradable options for your little tank, and each upgrade helps bolster your arsenal against the alien invaders. You can upgrade your shot power, add more guns to become your own personal artillery line, and also purchase shields if you happen to be running low after a close encounter. The ability to upgrade my ship throughout my playthrough added motivation that I often found was lost in classic arcade games outside of plain old high score chasing. Adding a new canon to your tank and blowing away enemies that originally took multiple shots to take down is instantly gratifying, and once you get all of the upgrades, you’ll feel like you’re unstoppable; however, this also introduces one of the game’s faults – it’s too easy.
I found my time with Titan Attacks! to be incredibly brief, which stems from the easy nature of the game mixed with the short levels. While there’s 100 levels, most can take only a minute to complete at most, and there isn’t any real difficulty spike to make the later levels challenging whatsoever. Taking a dated formula like Space Invaders’ is okay, but it’s also a game that was normally played through quarters and not for extended periods of time. Once I figured out how to line up my shots properly, I practically couldn’t be stopped by the computer, no matter what it threw at me.
Titan Attacks! is an incredibly fun and tightly controlled game, but its lack of additions to the formula we’ve seen before doesn’t make it a must play. A lack of difficulty and length significantly eliminates any sort of replayability; unless you’re trying to get high scores to compare with friends. While it admittedly is a tribute to Space Invaders, there just isn’t enough content to make it a fresh experience, and one that carves out its own identity. It’s dedication to being a tribute to another game stunts its own growth and stops it from being something great. Those looking for a cool modern take on an old classic will find a lot to love, but don’t expect any genre game changers that give new life to an arcade legend.
This review is based on a review copy of the PlayStation 4 and PlayStation Vita version of the game Titan Attacks! by Puppy Games.
- Great mix of new and old aesthetics
- Really responsive and tight controls
- A great throwback to classic gameplay...
- ...but it doesn't bring enough new variables to the genre
- Can be completed in about an hour