Developer: Puppy Games, Curve Studios (PlayStation version)
Release Date: March 13th, 2006
Available On: PC, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Vita
Reviewer’s Note: I played this game on the PlayStation 4. There may be differences between versions.
Space Invaders is a classic, one that many gamers knows of and has probably played at least once in their life. Titan Attacks is partially an attempt to modernize Space Invaders, but is also a major throwback to the classic meant to honor it. It’s just that, well… I don’t think Space Invaders has aged very well, and so I didn’t really find Titan Attacks to be that much fun.
The game works about as you would expect it to. You play as a little tank on the bottom of the screen and can go right and left and shoot. Aliens descend from the top of the screen and you have to shoot them down before they reach the bottom. Not all aliens just descend though, which is where the changes begin to come in. Some aliens will just move right and left, shoot back down at you. Others will go diagonally, shooting at you and having rotating shields of smaller aliens. A lot of these aliens require more than one hit to kill. It was smart to add these new aliens as just the original ones from Space Invaders wouldn’t have done well today. Yet I couldn’t help but feel that it wasn’t enough. As I continued to defeat the alien swarm I found myself just not all that into it.
I’m not saying the game didn’t try though. There are new mechanics added to try and keep the game fresh as well. Sometimes when you shoot down an enemy aircraft it’ll drop a crate with an upgrade for you to grab, or money to collect. Sometimes they may drop an alien that you can try to catch for money, though there’s some risk there as failing to catch the alien will cause you to lose money. Between stages you can spend the money on upgrades to your guns, health, buy more guns, or even buy screen-clearing bombs. Titan Attacks’ efforts to change up Space Invaders aren’t insignificant, but I didn’t really feel them doing much for me.
Every few levels you’ll also be hit with challenges, and there is an occasional boss fight thrown in. Challenges are usually just shooting down fast flying aircraft for some money and upgrade bonuses and… well actually, in all my time playing that was the only challenge I came across. Bossfights are a little more complex, having a lot of health and a complex attacking pattern. The boss fights are neat and required me to think on my feet and react to things like bombs and attempts to ram me. I honestly found these moments to be the highlight of Titan Attacks, as they did much more to actually feel like something different instead of just Space Invaders with better graphics.
Yet despite the boss fights and upgrade system, I hit a point where I realized I was just playing Space Invaders still. There’s nothing wrong with Space Invaders, it’s a classic for a reason, but when Titan Attacks doesn’t do enough to change the formula years after Space Invaders comes out, it just feels dated. A few steps in the right direction doesn’t help the game stand up today.