Game development can origin from anywhere and anything. It can be a hobby or a job, as most professional developers are, and they can also be a form of expression from the artist, to convey a message to all who play the game. Games can also be developed as part of a challenge, and one clear example of this is Titan Souls.
Titan Souls is a game about deaths. Lots of deaths. A hell of a lot of deaths. And stairs. More stairs than deaths even. But going back to its origins, Titan Souls came into existence from the Ludum Dare challenge, which tasks developers to create a game in 48 hours to then be submitted for judgement. In its 28th iteration of this Game Jam, the community suggested that the contest is based around a “You only get one” theme, and thus Titan Souls was born. The game was an instant hit, and the community urged those behind the game to keep up working on the title and release it to the general public, and that was exactly what happened.
Titan Souls is played as a third person “shooter”, with an overhead camera. Describing the game as a shooter is nowhere near the truth since you only shoot one arrow. In addition to that, you only have one hitpoint, meaning a hit from any enemy means insta-death. These two factors are the main points of the game, being also the core of the Ludum Dare challenge conditions. You start the game as a boy, without any backstory or reason why you’re there. The only things you can do are walk, roll, run, shoot an arrow and retrieve the arrow, either by walking upon it or by holding the shoot button to have it teleport back to you. And these actions are done only using two buttons, so it’s as simplistic a game as ever. As the game also suggests before the title screen, a controller is heavily suggested due to the enhanced precision of an analog stick when compared against the arrow keys. The latter are not impossible to use within the game, but with only 8 possible directions in which to aim, you are limiting yourself quite a lot. Unless it is a challenge or a dare; in that case go ahead, after all there is always someone striving to achieve a bigger milestone than anyone else by beating the game in an extraordinary fashion by adding self-imposed restrictions and boosting the difficulty sky high, and honestly using only the arrow keys in this game are that big of a deal.
In Titan Souls the enemies you face are Titans; huge foes who are awakened when you shoot them. The game is split into sections, with each containing a number of titans who you must kill in order to progress in the game. The first few titans are relatively weak, so these can feel almost like a training routine to learn the basic commands of the game. Each titan will then be a bigger challenge than the previous one, but just like you die in one hit, these often do. One hit to their weak spot is a guaranteed kill, but you may need to hit them somewhere else first in order for them to expose this weak spot. This means that fights are quite short in duration, with probably my longest fight in the whole game taking up to 3 minutes. This does not mean that you can breeze right through the game since each titan has his own tricks up their sleeve, and you need to think a little to figure out what needs to be done to defeat them. Sometimes even luck plays a part, small or big, in killing these titans.
In terms of graphics, the game is as simple as can be, with a graphic style reminiscent of a couple of decades ago, but this does not mean that the visuals are ugly; on the other hand, they fit perfectly with the style and flow of the game. As far as audio is concerned, the soundtrack of the game is excellent. The tracks are all top notch, combat music is motivating while at the same time describes the greatness of the challenge at hand, and the little exploration you do while searching for the next titan is accompanied by calm music, the kind which you just want to leave the game idle and listen to. I seriously advise anyone considering buying this game on Steam to get the collector’s edition to get the soundtrack with it, it is worth the extra money spent. The only drawback of the whole game is that it is rather short in terms of actual gameplay, and with no backstory or motivation, but it is overcome quite easily with the beauty of its gameplay.
Titan Souls is one of the most difficult and challenging games I have ever played, and it is what gives the game its own identity. In fact it also has a death counter which shows all your deaths on your save slot, which can become embarrassing to say the least. It can make you rage quite a lot at times, and I sure am guilty of that, but once you understand what needs to be done, you just need to persist until you land that arrow. Or else you die. And again. And again.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.