Space Invaders was released in video arcades to an unsuspecting world in 1978, and remains to this day one of the most iconic symbols of video gaming. It was followed shortly thereafter by Galaxian and Galaga, and these games set the mould for the “aliens attacking in formation” style of shoot-em-up (or shmup for short). Titan Attacks is a game in that vein, but with a slightly more modern spin on it. I take on the alien hordes in my tank, and risk certain death by incoming alien.
This review covers the 3DS version in particular, but all the versions of the game follow the same idea: you control a tank that can move left and right, and fire straight up. The invaders from Titan initially follow the Space Invaders mode of “left to right, drop bombs”, but that soon changes and you find yourself dealing with faster, more intelligent aliens. Occasionally, one will crash to earth, and you can earn bonus points for hitting it before it touches down. And that’s about it. Each invader you shoot down earns you some cash and counts toward your multiplier. Sometimes, while blasting foes, an alien might bail from his ship, and even use a parachute to ease his way to the ground. If you touch him before he gets to the ground, you earn a cash bonus. At the end of each level, you can spend some of the money to upgrade your tank, and then it’s back to the front lines with you.
The mode of play is still timeless, and you can happily and easily spend countless hours mindlessly blasting aliens. There’s no grand strategy, no tactics, just pure, unadulterated skill. And the more you play the better you get, natch. There’s a global high score table, although I’m not sure if the scores are console-specific.
Personally, I liked it: it’s fun in short bursts and can be a good distraction. One minor annoyance I found with the 3DS version was that the buttons needed to either start play or access the high-score table are on the touch screen, and don’t activate with the console face buttons. This necessitates moving your fingers from the face buttons just to start the game. And it’s the only touch interaction in the game, which doesn’t make sense, really.
Overall, there’s nothing really wrong with the game, but obviously its depth and range of play are limited—not that there’s anything wrong with that, since many early videos games managed just fine on these limits. The shop purchases you make during a playthrough only persist for that play, and resets at Game Over. Whether this is meant as a frustration or an incentive, I’ve yet to make up my mind. Still, blasting at aliens never gets old, and the modernized take on the old 8-bit style (4-bit if you want to be technical) is brilliantly charming. If you enjoy your retro-style games, I really recommend you try this fun take on a 30-year old classic.
Final Score: 7 Prawn Invaders out of 10
Developer: Puppy Games
Port by: Curve Digital
Platforms: Nintendo 3DS family (reviewed), PlayStation family (3, 4, Vita), Steam
RRP: R120 (3DS eShop), R149 (PlayStation store)
Website: http://www.puppygames.net/titan-attacks/ or https://www.nintendo.co.za/Games/Nintendo-3DS-download-software/Titan-Attacks–960210.html