‘Titan Souls’ shoots to thrill

By Austin Miller, @AMiller_DE

At least David brought several stones to take out Goliath with his slingshot.  The nameless hero of “Titan Souls” carries only a single arrow. 
 
“Titan Souls” is a ghost of video games past. The top-down, 2-D game looks similar to games in the “Pokémon” or “Zelda” series and emphasizes the boss battles of previous generations. But instead of fighting multiple animals on the way to a boss, “Titan Souls” only features boss battles.

A nameless hero, whom I liked to call David, walks into rooms where a giant, deformed creature is sleeping. David, whose sole arsenal is a bow and one arrow, must defeat these goliaths. The premise certainly makes David look like a sociopath, just walking into a building and murdering some creature because it is huge and terrifying.
 
A giant ball of green goop is the first monster to meet its demise at the hands of David. Shooting the blob makes it divide into smaller balls, which can crush David in one bounce. After years of jumping around on creatures in “Super Mario,” I can see the other viewpoint, and being sat on to death is terrifying.
 
As the glob continues to divide like an evil cell, a heart becomes exposed, becoming the new target for David’s arrow.
 
All of the boss fights are as formulaic as the first. Players will sit around and learn the patterns of each titan and find its weak spot before timing the perfect shot. They will certainly die many times before they find the correct technique.
 
“Titan Souls” is full of trial and error. This is not a bad thing because games have done this as long they have existed. There is not really another way to do boss battles.
 
But “Titan Souls” finds a way to make the tired tactic fresh. When the arrow is fired, players can either walk to it and grab it, or hold the shoot button to summon it back. This makes timing so important. If a player shoots too far and misses, they have a long way to go to retrieve their weapon. David cannot move when calling back his arrow, so missing makes him vulnerable. In reality, this little child should be no match for these beasts.
 
It brought to light something said by Hawkeye in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” These are monsters and aliens, and all he has is a bow and arrow. He should have no chance.
 
Conquering the titans is fun, but it is all there really is to do in the game.
 
The environments look cool, but show nothing besides David and the monster. It is just a bland canvas players have to paint themselves.
 
Besides, there is no story. The character’s name is not David, I just called him that to create some kind of connection with him. Players have no idea why he is here, why he must kill the titans and why he could not grab more than just one arrow. That was a rookie mistake, David.
 
A small bit of text comes on-screen before each fight, but it is some kind of unreadable hieroglyphic gibberish. Not every game needs a fantastic story, and fun gameplay leads “Titan Souls” to a fun experience. I would have preferred some backstory, so I did not feel as much like a sociopath for conquering these goliaths in their own homes.
 
Maybe these creatures killed David’s family? Maybe they have taken over his home land? Maybe they make too much noise when David is sleeping? I do not know but wish I did.
 
“Titan Souls” reminds me of driving to a water park. The ride will take around four hours, and when you get there, it is magical. But the ride would have been more enjoyable if you could take a Camaro instead of a Taurus. It does not make the experience any worse, it would only elevate it.
 
4 stars out of 5
 
Austin Miller can be reached at [email protected]

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