Titan Souls is set in a beautiful world to a wonderful sound track but the gameplay is nothing more than unforgiving chain of boss battles lacking in diversity.
Developer: Acid Nerve
Platform: PS4, PS Vita, PC
MonsterVine was supplied with an PS4/Vita code for review
Titan Souls takes the brutality and frustration of a souls game (think: Bloodborne, Dark Souls, etc..) and distills it into a series of boss battles with no progression. Titan Souls is a two button game. One to shoot & recall your single arrow and the second button for rolling and sprinting. If your character takes a hit, you die and start from the last checkpoint. I wish the controls offered a little more control. Aiming of the bow is on the same stick as movement, which makes things a little difficult when you need to be precise and tactical when dodging. You are unable to move while drawing your arrow, as soon as it is fired your movement returns. I found myself wanting a plant button, so I could hold my position until the exact moment of rolling. Rolling is instrumental to defeating a lot of the bosse. a bit of an invisible cooldown, which also got me killed quite a bit.
The individual enemies play out like combat puzzles. The first step in every encounter is to learn the weak point. The second step is shoot your arrow at the weak point. The hard part is executing the solution without getting hit once. Things start out very simple, shoot the heart floating in the slime blob. Titan Souls does a great job at giving subtle clues to help players identify the weak points, and it feels great to finally take down a frustrating boss.
For a game expects you to die quickly and frequently, Titan Souls does a poor job at getting you back into the action quickly. This is my biggest complaint with the game. The only checkpoints available act as hubs which serve as the same respawn point for multiple bosses. This means after every failed attempt, after the screen fades to black you have to trudge up staircases, or navigate your way through a ‘lost woods’ style maze. It might not sound like much of an issue, but the 15 to 30 seconds of trudging back to the boss, per death, greatly adds to the frustration. This would be more tolerable if this was a more traditional action game, with smaller enemies to destroy or items to collect in between fighting titans. Without these elements of progression, the only thing you can do after getting fed up with one frustrating fight is try to defeat another titan in the area.
Other than the big boss style battles, Titan Souls has almost nothing to offer in respects to gameplay. The retro inspired art, and tranquil soundtrack however are beautiful. I found myself wishing for more reasons to explore the environment and get lost in the world but Titan Souls gives you very little reason to explore apart from finding the next group of bosses..
Acid Nerve expects you to replay Titan Souls. It only took me 2h 33m to fight my way through the final boss with around 250 deaths and 15 kills. Upon completion new options like “Hard Mode” and “Iron Man” unlock to give some replay value for those dedicated and skilled enough to tackle the bosses with additional difficulty. There is even a mode which disables the ability to sprint and roll, or one that only gives players one life. both of which sound impossible to me, but an engaging challenge for the most skilled players.
The Final Word
Titan Souls is trying something different, and I don’t fault it for that but it lacks content and diversity. The music and art try and make up for the lack of mechanics, but can only do so much to turn the tide. If you are looking for a short, reflex based battle of bosses than Titan Souls might be a right fit. But if you want something with gameplay versatility, or character progression then you better roll away now.
– MonsterVine Rating: 3 out of 5 – Average