Reviewed on: PS Vita
Also on: PS3, PS4 PC.
Developed and published by PuppyGames
Space invaders was originally released in arcades in the summer of 1978 in Japan. At the time it was ground breaking and I am sure virtually everyone has heard of this classic. Released around the same time of modern classics like Star Wars, Alien and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Space Invaders really helped the Sci-Fi genre grow into what it is today and made developers Taito around $500m, a huge amount even comparable to the money made by Star Wars in its initial cinematic release. In the near forty years since 1978, there have been countless iterations of varying quality, trying to get a slice of the pie. Titan Attacks is one of the latest.
PuppyGames is a U.K. Based independent studio that specialise in Retro Chic (apparently that is a thing) games, based on many of the arcade classics. Titan Attacks was originally released on Steam in February 2012 and as such it has taken a little over two years to be released onto consoles and specifically the Playstation platform. If you purchase this game on the Playstation store you can play it on the PS3, the PS4 and my favourite for this title- the PS Vita. Whilst you can play this title on all three platforms there is no cross save feature, which is disappointing as other titles have managed to include this so that you can play it on your home console before carrying on your save game with the Vita on the go.
Starting up the game for the first time I was greeted by some nice looking blocky pixels in bright colours, it nails the nostalgic look from the 8-Bit era but with a modern HD gloss that looks brilliant on your HD screen. If you somehow don’t know how a Space Invaders style game plays by now, get out from under that rock and know that Titan Attacks has the same premise. You are in control of a single Tank, the last hope for the protection of Earth and with that tank you must scroll from left to right shooting upwards to the Aliens coming downwards on a 2D screen.
As with the visuals the game-play is classic Space Invaders with a more modernised twist. You have your obligatory main cannon that shoots upwards towards the sky. You can rack up money in various ways, so that you can upgrade your tank, from upgrading the basic fire power and shields to enhancing your tank with extra add-on weapons and smart bombs that obliterate all enemies on the screen when deployed. Upgrading your tank is crucial if you are to progress through the levels and complete this game.
With the basic game-play being something that has been tried and tested for many years now it is amazing that this game is still capable of making it feel fresh, but it does. This is mainly due to the upgrading elements. There aren’t hundreds of options, but there are just enough to ensure that you keep going to unlock the latest boost for your tank. Managing your money between rebuilding your shield and upgrading your weapons can be a tough choice and sometimes comes down to trial and error, as you never know how tough the next wave is going to be until you are in it.
There are five different levels or, in this case planets that you have to battle through to get to the end. These levels aren’t hugely different from one another. Aesthetically the main difference is in the colour palette, this is after all a flat 2D world. The enemies do change slightly from planet to planet, with each progression resulting in harder enemies that can sustain more damage. At the end of each planet you have to face off against an alien mother-ship or, in this case I suppose they are Titans. These do bring a level of difficulty that on a couple of occasions frustrated me but, as with most bosses once you learn their patten it is relatively straight forward.
There is no difficulty setting in this game. The learning curve supposedly adjusts to how well you play in the early stages, if you are terrible it makes it easier later on but that does mean that it is harder to earn money. If you are getting through the first few stages with ease then it goes without saying that later on it will be tougher, but the extra money for upgrades compensates for that.
As with the classic Space Invaders, the aim of this game is to rack up as many points as possible. With there being five different planets before you meet the end boss, you may think that there is a limit to how many points you can get, but in Titan Attacks there is no end. If you beat the final boss you simply start again with your upgrades and points intact, the more stages you clear without getting hit the higher your multiplier will be and as such the more points you will earn. It is a basic element adopted by so many games, but it is so addictive trying to get as many points as you can, so that you can climb the online score tables (my best was around 12th overall).
I have to admit that I am a big fan of these retro classic titles. I have played various iterations throughpot the years and I have really enjoyed playing this one. Visually it looks great, perfectly blending the classic Space invaders pixels with HD blocks and colours. It is brilliantly addictive, I am sure that if you get into it you wont be able to put it down again until you have managed to get high up the score boards. This game is proof that some of the oldest core game-play mechanics can stand the test of time.