Revenge Of The Titans – Review

Title   Revenge Of The Titans
Developer  Puppy Games
Publisher  Iceberg Interactive
Platform  PC
Genre  RTS, Tower Defense
Release Date  1st July, 2011

Insert 'Yer Maw' response here...

Your headquarters is still standing. Your turrets are in place. Your funds are dwindling. In the distance, you hear the soft rumble of one hundred giant feet marching their way towards you. You take a breath and wait. In about twenty seconds they will descend upon you, and then things will really get going. And you know that, in about thirty seconds, everything that is standing now will be rubble. Welcome to Revenge of the Titans.

Revenge of the Titans is, as I found after some digging on the Puppy Games website, actually a sequel of sorts to an earlier game by them, a Space Invaders clone by the name of Titan Attacks. It seems that after Earth fended off the invasion of the Titans, the alien species from Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, decided to have another go and are back in an attempt to take Earth once again.

The army, however, are having none of it and have decided to fight back, wiping them off Earth and then pursuing them across the galaxy before taking the fight back to their home planet.  Not that the story plays a huge part in the game at all; Revenge of the Titans is all about putting turrets around the map and preventing those pesky aliens from getting at your HQ. The assortment of turrets, mines, barricades and other buildings on offer is actually fairly impressive, as is the range of Titans that will try and attack you. A newer, nastier Titan is introduced once every two levels or so, forcing you to keep your tactics fresh and requires that you utilise new technologies to fend them off, preventing the game from getting too stale. Power-ups are also a clever and useful addition, popping up on the map from time to time, giving you stat boosts for the whole level or simple ten second effects, such as freezing all the enemies in place or nuking them, obliterating every foe on screen. You’ll also end up facing off against boss monsters which take a considerably larger number of shots to take down, and who will destroy your HQ in one go, making sure you stay on your toes.

At the end of the day, however, it does just boil down to how many units you can put on the field than any real tactics, like turret placement or cover. Still, the fast-paced combat makes the gameplay a lot of fun, and the ability to fast-forward allows you to set up your turrets and jump straight to the action, helping to keep things enjoyable and pacy.  The RTS elements of the game come in the form of resource management and the large, randomly generated maps you play on. Resource management mostly just comes down to building refineries close to crystals (which reminded me a lot of StarCraft) and watching your money go up, which keeps things nice and simple. The maps are often well designed, with obvious routes for the Titans to take, and the fact that they are randomly generated means you won’t find yourself playing the same map twice, even on the same mission. One of the more prominent problems I found was the lack of zooming, so when playing on a huge map it’s quite slow to jump around from one end to the other, meaning you could be losing valuable turrets, but this is only rarely a problem and a very minor complaint.

Technology and the upgrading thereof is another major aspect of the game. At the start of every level you choose a technology or science to research, which can either give you a stats boost for your base model turrets, give you add-ons for them, help you develop new ones, or even give you a whole new turret for use in that level. As I said, the choice on offer is quite amazing, though perhaps to the point of being overwhelming.  The problem is that while you’re given all this choice, the game has some clear ideas of how you should be using your research. For the first twenty levels or so you’re mostly left to your own devices and the going is pretty steady… but, suddenly, the scientists have ideas of how you should be doing things, and then enemies start appearing that require specific turrets to be built in order to defeat them.  So, while there are no real tactics as to how you place your turrets, it’s the type you place which matters and if you don’t have the right turrets for the job, you’re screwed.

There is always the option to go back and re-do old levels, changing your research choices so that you’ll have a better load-out in the future, but unless you’re willing to re-do every level up until the point you decided to go back, the changes you make don’t make any difference. Couple that with the fact that the game gets somewhat ridiculously hard at around the three quarter mark and you could find yourself going back through about ten levels of hard work just to have a rocket launcher, which is not fun.  You could also choose to re-generate the level to an easier map, but ‘easier’ usually only means that the paths the Titans are likely to take are more obvious, not that the number of enemies decreases or that they are any easier to kill. There are also occasions where the ‘easier’ map offers up more disadvantages for you, so it’s not really easier at all. Combine this with the fact that you get better bonuses for beating levels on the original map, and making the level simpler seems quite pointless.

If the campaign mode begins to bore you, Revenge of the Titans offers up two more modes: Endless and Survival. Endless basically plays out like the campaign mode, except that the scientists don’t bother you as much and there’s no end to it. In fact, other than the lack of an end point, there isn’t really much that distinguishes Endless from the campaign, making it seem ever so slightly pointless, although it is a good bit of fun if the campaign is starting to wear you out.

Survival is what it sounds like: you’re given a limited number of buildings and resources and tasked with surviving for as long as you can from an endless stream of Titans. For me, this was the most enjoyable mode on offer, as it allowed instant gratification and none of the research or slow build-up at the start of the mission. One problem I did have was the lack of buildings available to begin with, as the game forces you to play through the campaign in order to stand a chance at surviving longer than fifteen seconds, which is an annoying setback when you’re tired of the campaign and just want to kill some aliens right away. Survival comes complete with online leaderboards, although how you get your time uploaded is never explained, and the leaderboards only show the top 20 players, so you’re going to have to get good to get on there.

The graphics are very retro, mixed with a kind of cute cartoony style; one of the giant monsters actually looks quite adorable before he mauls your buildings. Everything looks crisp and clean and well defined, so while there are definitely hints of the 8-bit lurking around, the graphics are still up to date and accessible for those who find old style graphics a no-no. The Titans can sometimes look a little samey after a while, but each planet changes the style of Titans, so it’s not a major issue. The only real downfall of the graphics are the environments, which are a tad dull in that the only change between planets is the colour; the features of each planet (rocks, mountains, so on) rarely change. When all is said and done though, the game is very pleasing to the eye.

Audio wise, the sounds also instil an old-school feel into the game, with big laser sounds mixed with crummy explosions that send you right back to Space Invaders. The Titans let out a horrible roar when they’re about to attack, and the game helpfully beeps to let you know when the enemies stop spawning – something which helps out a lot when things start getting hectic. There’s also a lovely rumble of feet as the Titans pour onto the screen – a little touch that never fails to make me smile whenever I hear it. The soundtrack is mostly non-existent, but when there is music being played it never really enters your consciousness (although thankfully it doesn’t interfere with the audio cues).

The only question therefore is this: retail or download?  The boxed edition comes with an awesome poster and a soundtrack (which is cool but not good enough to be played out of context), as well as a Steam key and the option to not install the game through Steam… and all for only a small amount more than a copy direct from Steam. Since Puppy Games have gone to all the trouble of getting a publisher it seems rude not to pick it up in a box, but the choice is yours.

  • Fun and simple gameplay allows you to drop in and out with ease
  • Impressive amount of upgrades available
  • Lovely graphics combining retro-chic with modern crispness
  • Great sound effects and audio cues add to the atmosphere and help out a lot
  • Can become very difficult in a short space of time
  • Environments are fairly dull
  • Music is either not present or not interesting enough to deserve being there

Revenge of the Titans is a lot of fun in small doses. Play through the campaign for too long in one go and you may find yourself frustrated with the rapid increase in difficulty and seemingly unchanging environments. However, when it looks this good and sounds this great, and is a barrel of fun to boot, you may find yourself playing for a couple of hours at a time anyway. It’s definitely worth a look if you’re in the mood for killing some aliens with big turrets.

Last five articles by Ric


One Comment

  1. Edward Edward says:

    Sounds like a pretty interesting title, but it’s nothing I’d play or enjoy myself, to be honest.
    Good job Ric, hope this helps sell a few more copies of the game!

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