Many independent games these days draw their inspiration from old classics. Some look to story concepts, arcade mechanics and others just downright clone them. It’s clear to see where Titan Attack set its roots, but is it just another clone or is it something more?
The main premise behind Titan Attack is that the Earth, and our entire solar system, is under attack from an alien race. To defend our solar system, Earth uses a single tank, which is operated by you.
A bit silly, but we’ve seen this setup before: Space Invaders. Each wave, you must face hordes of alien ships, shoot and destroy them. Every now and again, a ship will fall from the sky and its pilot will parachute to safety. You can shoot the falling ship for extra points, and capture the alien for extra cash.
The money is used to buy upgrades for the tank, repair any damage done to it and stock up on some bombs. This is the main difference between Titan Attack and Space Invaders or Galaga, well, apart from the visual and sound improvements, but that’s to be expected.
The controls are fairly standard, so there’s no learning curve. You move left and right, and shoot. Simple. The game does bump up the difficulty at a good pace, meaning you get used to moving around and dodging in-coming fire over time, rather than have to redo levels repeatedly through trial and error. This becomes more apparent, when the movements of your alien foes become erratic and faster.
Adding to the difficulty is a score multiplier. Increasing your multiplier score is easy, it’s keeping it that’s difficult. Just one hit from an enemy will reduce it back to zero. So dodging bullets is very important. This also helps keep you on your toes and prevents you from spending money on shields, money you can use to buy permanent upgrades.
Visually, it looks a bit like an actual arcade game, meaning the graphics don’t “pop” like most games do these days. It’s not blurry, but it could look a lot sharper. What’s worse is that it doesn’t utilise the calling card of the 3DS, the 3D function – which I think would’ve given this game a nice edge.
There are 5 planets for you to explore each covering 20 stages with a boss at the end. Once you’re done with the 100 stages, the game sends you back to the first stage with your score and upgrade, which makes the cycle endless… until you die. After that, your high score is sent to a global leaderboard. Just make sure you play where there’s internet. During my second play, I had a really high score, but lost while on the bus to work, meaning my score never loaded. 🙁
The 100 stage cycle will take you about 2 hours to finish – depending on if you lose of course. Other than that, there’s not much else to do. If you’re not a massive arcade fan, then this game is not for you. For those who are, bare in mind that there’s not much past the 2 hour mark, unless you’re happy with an endless loop.
The audio is odd, while I really like the sound effects, it’s the music that put me off. You are literally listening to one track in a fight. After you beat a wave the track changes to some fixed menu music and then back to the electro pop dance battle music. This happens over and over and over again, like a broken record. It got to the point where I stopped listening to the game and just listened to music.
Titan Attack isn’t a bad game, it’s just that the latest version isn’t amazing enough for me to play it over and over again. It’s a very average game. I don’t see a lot of people playing this game on the 3DS, especially if they’ve already played it before. There’s not a lot left to do once you’ve beaten the game, so unless you’re a fan of arcade games, I suggest you look for fun somewhere else, or wait until this is really cheap.