It would all too easy to simply say that Puppy Games’ “Titan Attacks!” is nothing more than a rehash of the arcade classic “Space Invaders” with some additional refinements added for good measure. However, rather than being a knock-off, TA! is actually something of a tribute that that classic title, the devs even take great pride in this by stating (on their homepage) that it’s “The best Space Invaders tribute ever”. All in all, one would have to agree with such sentiments; this game really is an update / recreation of that classic gameplay formula which people still seem to love.
At its core Titan Attacks! really is a modern retro game. It has all the hallmarks found in classic examples, yet at the same time it pushes the boundaries in new and exciting directions. Of course, all of this is carried out without going beyond the bounds which might turn the title into something else entirely, which might alienate the game’s core audience of retro enthusiasts. However, it’s been noted by many that this might not just be a flattering imitation, but a marked improvement over its predecessor in nearly every way imaginable.
First off, the same addictive, classic gameplay is found here in staggering quantities. You’ll likely become so entranced with dodging enemy fire and frantically aiming that general navigation will become second nature to you. Seriously, despite its rather unimposing appearance and simplistic design, Titan Attacks! remains somewhat challenging, even for the veteran gamer who’s well-versed in the ancient ways of the arcade. You control a little tank that’s tasked with shooting down approaching aliens, all of whom move in a pack and swivel from side to side, all the while lowering toward your location on the ground. At the same time, with each one you take out their overall speed increases, which often means that (in the latter levels) you’ll be frantically trying to shoot ahead of the last enemy’s location as it blazes back and forth across your screen.
For a game that more or less banks on a classic archetype, Titan Attacks! is still somewhat stylish though. Not only does it incorporate blocky 8-bit-ish art and titles, but also an assortment of interesting backdrops as well. Nevertheless, there are some additions worth mentioning, like the “shop” you can access in between waves which allows you to purchase upgrades to your shields, firepower and more. There’s also been some attention paid to the in-game sound design, which has replaced the typical old-school muted laser blasts with more satisfying modern equivalents. Likewise, the music is also satisfying and helps to characterize the action well (not too imposing or relaxed, instead setting a pace which allows you to concentrate on what’s taking place action-wise).
Needless to say, Titan Attacks! is a game that all PS4-touting retro enthusiasts should check out. Sure, it might not offer much in the way of innovation but if its classic, formulaic action redistilled in a shiny new format, this game certainly won’t disappoint.