By: Matthew Striplen
Classic games will always hold a special place in my heart. Playing them now is like revisiting an old childhood friend. Titan Attacks is an updated remake of the groundbreaking 1978 title, Space Invaders. I had high expectations for this game, especially since it remade one of the most influential games of all time. I am proud to say Titan Attacks delivers.
The first aspect most people will notice are the graphics. Titan Attacks sports fantastic 8-bit styled pixel art. Everything is bright, clear, and above all, detailed. The cityscape in the screenshot alone looks terrific. The high level of care put into the visuals by the developers is very apparent. Even the laser shots and explosions look cool, especially in conjunction with the good sound effects.
The soundtrack is good though frequently obscured by the multitude of explosion and firing noises. Each enemy death is paired with some sort satisfying crunch.
For controls, Titan Attacks stays close to its roots. The only difference between this game’s controls and Space Invaders‘ is the inclusion of a bomb button. Everything is as it should be: responsive and simple.
Titan Attacks expands on everything good about its spiritual predecessor. Unlike many remakes, this game feels like a natural progression of the series rather than a forced sequel. The first few levels keep things pretty simple, but with two major differences. After each enemy wave, the player will be faced with an upgrade menu. By far, the most interesting power-ups are the shields and add-ons.
In its basic form, your ship will be destroyed in one shot, just like Space Invaders. Defensive capabilities can be expanded at the cost of your hard earned cash, which could be spent on offensive upgrades. Also, each shield must be repurchased after its destruction, so spend your money wisely. As for the add-ons, up to four additional weapons can be installed onto your ship, vastly increasing and diversifying your firepower. It’s pretty darn cool.
Two other large elements have been added: boss battles and bonus stages. Each boss functions in roughly the same manner, just with slightly different weaponry and health. They are a welcome and challenging addition to the game.
The bonus round enables players to win free upgrades without putting their ship at risk. Depending on the grade of success, one of several prizes will be awarded. Even if the player fails miserably, there is no negative outcome.
One more unusual aspect is the save function. In Titan Attacks, a saved game is not truly “safe.” Games are only preserved when the player saves and quits but not upon death, which lends a bit of an old school flare. However, after progressing to the different worlds, players may choose to begin their adventure beyond the first world but not select an individual level.
My favorite update is the new enemy designs. One of my only complaints about the original Space Invaders is the monotony of the opponents. Titan Attacks not only spices things up with enemies big and small, but also equips them with a variety of weapons and attack patterns. This keeps the player on their toes, even when the objective stays the same. Occasionally, an alien pilot will attempt to abandon ship by parachuting to safety, enabling the player to capture it for a reward or simply destroy it. Be careful though, if you let it escape, you’ll pay a fine!
Although Titan Attacks has plenty of replay value, my only real complaint is its brevity. That said, I’d rather be left wanting more than less. Upon defeating the final boss, the player will begin the game again but with all purchased power-ups. This enables you to continue boosting high scores but lacks new content. Defeating the last boss only took me two brief play sessions. Improving the high score was more than enough incentive to continue playing for me, plus trying to acquire all power-ups presented a further challenge.
I had a ton of fun playing Titan Attacks. This game took a classic and improved upon its gameplay by adding a multitude of new features while still maintaining a close tie to the source material. There is something to be offered to all gamers, both new and seasoned. I highly recommend it.