Titan Souls Review [PS Vita / PS4]

Titan Souls - Key Art

Oh man. Developer Acid Nerve and Devolver Digital weren’t kidding when they said Titan Souls was hard.  It’s not a game that is artificially hard because bosses can not be beat because they are cheap or damage sponges, but hard because the game is genuinely challenging. What makes the game so challenging to me at least is the fact that your character only has one measly magic arrow that he can use against larger than life titans. How’s a person supposed to win against those odds?

Titan Souls has you playing as a lone archer, exploring a barren, ancient world in search of mythical titans. Players must awaken each titan to uncover and exploit their weakness to bring them down and harvest their soul. Other than that, the story itself is pretty light. Those looking for a RPG quality story won’t find it here. It never really goes in depth as to why you’re actually doing what you’re doing.

Titan Souls takes place on a beautiful world. It’s a retro inspired world that harkens back to the days of The Legend of Zelda and the original Final Fantasy games. It’s not quite as pixelated as the 8-bit era but it does a good job mimicking the feel while still improving upon it. Now I know those who hate indie games usually complain about how dated the graphics usually look, but I think that’s really the charm of games like this. Many of us still have fond memories of the ‘good old days’ when gameplay was more important than how a game looked and I really enjoy when the graphics don’t get in the way of gameplay. With that said, I like retro inspired graphics. I think it works really well here and works with the whole atmosphere of Titan Souls.

Earlier I mentioned how challenging Titan Souls is and because of this, you die. A lot. This is a game where you die over and over and over again before you finally get it right and defeat a titan. Why is that? Well, each titan has their own unique weakness that you must discover and this can take many, many tries before you find out what it is. It’s almost like a deadly puzzle you have to solve. The real kicker is that you are only allotted one arrow on your quest. This arrow can be shot, but must be retrieved again before you can fire another shot. Since it’s a magic arrow, you have the choice of either retrieving the arrow by hand, or having it magically summoned back to you. This makes for some rather interesting gameplay strategy that you’ll have to think about when you play.

Titan Souls - Screen 2

How exactly will most battles be like? Here’s an example from the very first boss you encounter. Each boss is separated into chambers that you unlock. The first of these chambers we discover houses a giant green slime titan that is many times larger than you. Your first instinct is to shoot it, at which point, the slime ball splits in half and becomes two separate entities now. You’ll notice that one seems to have what appears to be a brain while the other doesn’t. We can assume that this must be the weak spot. If we shoot this blob of slime again, it will again split in two and becoming even faster, but smaller. Each time we shoot any of the green blobs, they split into equal smaller halves that become faster and faster. The blobs will chase you around the arena and if one of them gets you, it’s over. You’ll have to start the battle all over again.

Titan Souls - Screen 1

Now, if we had unlimited arrows, this titan battle would probably be a cinch, but we don’t. Not only do we have to contend with all these blobs of goo, but we also have to retrieve our arrow each time we shoot it. We can manually retrieve it or we can magically retrieve it, in which case, it can still be a projectile used to harm enemies on its return flight back to us.

The conclusion to this battle occurs when the green blob with the brain in it becomes so small that the brain is exposed and we can shoot it to kill it. Titan battle is over and we can move on to the next one. Again, this is all easier said than done. It took me a good half an hour before I was able to beat the first boss.

If you go through the first boss and don’t come out of that satisfied with the results, just stop playing. This game isn’t going to be for you. This basically is what you do the entire time. Search for titans, spend who knows how long figuring out how to defeat them, and then go in for the kill. Absorb the the titan’s soul and then move on the next titan.

Titan Souls - Screen 8

Gameplay mechanics are relatively simple in Titan Souls as the game only needs use of two buttons and the thumbstick. The thumbstick is used to move around and aim while the other two buttons are used for running/rolling and firing your arrow. The two buttons however are mapped to a few different buttons on the PS Vita so you can choose to use the face buttons or the top bumpers. Shooting in the game isn’t a simple process either. You don’t just tap on it to fire your arrow. You actually have to charge it up before firing and you can’t move while you’re doing this. This leaves you quite vulnerable and adds to the difficulty. Same goes for retrieving your arrow. If you do it magically, you have to stand still for it to come back to you. This makes for some really challenging gameplay, but I’m glad that you only need to fiddle with two buttons to play the game, keeping your concentration on the game.

Titan Souls - Screen 5

I’m not going to lie, Titan Souls is hard. While some of you may get lucky and beat these titans relatively quickly, I had no such luck. Figuring out how to beat these titans isn’t the difficult part. The difficult part is actually pulling off what you need to do to beat them. Early on there is a titan that requires you to wait for it to push a button that activates fire for a split second. If you can avoid the titan while it’s coming for you, you have to somehow get it to slide over the button. Once it does that, you have to fire your arrow at the fire and hope you’re at the right angle to also hit the titan and melt its ice shield. After that’s down, then you can kill the exposed brain. It’s not easy. Though the first titan took me roughly 30 minutes to beat, this one took me an hour. An hour! It’s pretty much this way for me on all the titan battles.

As frustrating as that might sound, i kept coming back for more. Each time I died, I swore that the next time would be the one. Over and over again this happened and when I finally did beat a titan, it was the must satisfying feeling ever because I had to work my butt off to beat it. Titan Souls may be lacking in the story department, but it makes up for that with good old fashioned gameplay and challenges.


 

 

Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.

 

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