Titan Souls Review Jose San Mateo April 24, 2015 Reviews Titan Souls is comparable to the ancient civilization depicted in the game. It starts out new, fresh and grand in scope, but with time the game loses its luster. The game is the ultimate tease; alluding to a grand world that is fraught with history and a somber mission with the potential for an excellent narrative. Unfortunately, the game fails to do anything with the foundation it sets up so meticulously, which mars the experience. At its core, Titan Souls is a boss rush game built upon extreme challenge. Its difficulty demands a level of execution that borders between maddening frustration and cathartic release. The game employs simple mechanics by arming my character with a bow and single arrow. That arrow can then be retrieved either by walking over it or calling it back like a boomerang. This simplicity feels clever because developer Acid Nerve designed a set of bosses that really tested me in the best (and worst) ways. The game starts out simple throwing a set of bosses at me that felt like the preliminary rounds of a title fight. There was the blob that split with every arrow shot that taught me to aim for the heart and end fights quickly. Another boss was a brain encased in ice, that focused on maneuvering bosses into traps in order to expose its weak point. The last type of boss was the worst kind for me — the cube with an eye that only exposed its weak point just moments before firing off a large attack. I died quite a bit while familiarizing myself with the game, and that was just within the small initial area. The main event begins when the game opens up into the wider world, introducing a slew of bosses that are variations on those previous types. The bosses Titan Souls threw at me were elegant puzzle pieces that really felt satisfying to solve, but as the game progressed they grew harder to appreciate because of the sheer challenge that came with execution. Often it was obvious where the weak point was, but the sequence of actions it took to set up the chance to hit it required so many deaths and retries. I got one-shotted by everything from snowballs to arced lightning over and over again, and there were many moments that the controller almost went flying across the room. When the war of attrition ended and the boss went down, my controller almost hit the ceiling in celebration. Titan Souls is also a beautiful game, which was a nice counterpoint to the bludgeoning nature of its gameplay. It captures a retro aesthetic in graphics, but is modern in presentation. The world feels ancient with craggy snow-capped mountains, lava filled caves highlighted by a fiery waterfall and the ancient ruins over run with flora. The music underscores all of it with a somber score that underlies each level suggesting that the mission of this lone warrior is a grim one. It’s really easy to get burned out on a game like Titan Souls given the nature of its gameplay and without something else to carry the game it descends into tedium. The game fails to flesh out this world with a narrative that goes beyond murdering giant monsters. I never understood why these titans had to die, nor the purpose in taking their souls. I kept waiting for the game to explain the world and the deeper purpose to my mission, but it offers little beyond a few ancient hieroglyphs on the wall. After killing the first dozen bosses or so, it became evident that the ongoing loop of frustration and release would be the extent of this experience. It left me feeling disappointed that the game failed to meet its untapped potential.