Have you played Space Invaders? Now, imagine Space Invaders and……well, actually, that’s pretty much all you have to do. Titan Attacks! is a game that truly pushes the concept of homage to its very limit. Sure, there are no walls between you and your alien based assailant and yes, Titan Attacks! is home to an addictive upgrade system, but other than that, this is essentially, on a conceptual level at least, the same game as the original released way back in 1978.
That might sound like a criticism, but thanks to the simplistic brilliance of the original, is anything but. Yes, the stringent adherence to the template ensures that this is a game with minimal content, but in terms of pure gameplay, Titan Attacks (I’m going to drop the exclamation from here on in),is about as enjoyable and addictive as anything I have played this year.
A big part of that addictiveness is down to the aforementioned, upgrade system. Arguably the biggest difference between this and Space Invaders, this system encourages you to chase high scores in the short term as well as the long term. The leaderboards will invariably have you keeping an eye on your score, but stage to stage bonuses are essential to turning your rather basic tank into an alien destroying death machine.
From health upgrades and additional bullet power to new guns and smart bombs; the promise of additional upgrades not only brings a new lease of life to this much loved template, but also does a great job of keeping you invested for the entirety of your run.
It’s not just the upgrades that feel new though – the enemies are also infinitely more aggressive and ensure that, while Titan Attacks is rarely genuinely difficult, there is always enough of a challenge to keep you on your toes (regardless of how powerful your tank might be). Health in particular is something that you need to buy on a regular basis and weighing up the safety of a quick health bonus against a more expensive permanent upgrade quickly becomes an end of stage conundrum.
Much like Pac-Man: Championship Edition, Titans Attack essentially feels like Space Invaders turned up to 11. There is still a retro charm to the visuals, but enemies and attacks in particular have all been given a modern day upgrade resulting in a game that, on a visual level, manages to fall into that happy middle ground between old and new. Enemy attacks can be a little hard to spot, and falling enemy pilots that you can collect for extra points are invariably destroyed once things get a little hectic, but despite these minor issues, Titan Attacks manages to both look and play fantastically.
There isn’t a great deal of content, and those uninterested in leaderboards or old school arcade gaming might well feel short changed, but despite their only being a handful of worlds and 100 unique but extremely short stages to get through, Titan Attacks has the feel of a game that I will invariably come back to time and again. Be it genuine high score chasing or an excuse to burn away 5 spare minutes, with cross-buy covering the PS3, PS4 and Vita, I have no doubt I’ll find myself back in the tank sooner rather than later.
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