Titan Attacks, developed by Puppy Games, classes itself as “The best Space Invaders tribute ever,” and in that one sentence alone, the entire game is described. Yes, Titan Attacks is a game that not only resembles Space Invaders, but plays like it too. With a few tweaks here and there, Titan Attacks is a great refresh of one of the oldest games of all times.
Titan Attacks is obviously based on the classic Taito arcade game Space Invaders, which was released in 1978. With game mechanics dating back almost 40 years, there have been some gameplay adjustments made in a bid to attract new players to this age old concept.
If you’ve been living in a cave for four decades, the controls are very simple. Your ship can be moved either right or left on the screen, while your fire-button will let off one missile at a time, unless you have an upgrade in operation. While you are moving and shooting, there are a group of alien space invaders firing missiles down at you. While they constantly move from right to left and back again above you, they drop down a level each time the group of aliens reach the side of the screen. This goes on until the aliens have either destroyed you with their missiles or run into you.
Titan Attacks expands on this simple mechanic by introducing movements similar to those in games such as Galaga; not only do they move left to right, but some of the Space Invaders will move around in set-patterns or even swoop down on your position. This changes the game mechanics by providing less boring alien attack patterns.
In addition to avoiding missiles and trying to stop waves of invaders from reaching the bottom, some aliens will fall in flames when they are hit. Shoot these while they are falling and they will give you bonus points. Some destroyed invaders will also release parachuted survivors, which if caught will net players bonus points and money. Other destroyed invaders or missiles from ships will cause an explosion on the floor, meaning that for a few vital seconds, your pathway to destruction is closed off and your playing area minimized.
Just like the original Space Invaders, at the very top of your playing area there will be a flying saucer that flies by at various speeds. As this is usually above the area where you are destroying invaders, the saucer is harder to hit, but if you do hit it, you will be rewarded with a wealth of points and money.
After each wave in the game, players are given the chance to buy upgrades. Upgrades were not included in the original Space Invaders, but they are a welcome addition to the formula in this more modern title. Upgrades include shields, power-ups for your gun, smart bombs and more. Each upgrade genuinely makes a difference so it is vital to buy the upgrade that you need for the level you are currently working on.
As in Galaga, every few levels brings you to a bonus screen where there will be a wave of invaders flying around in different patterns. They have to all be shot down in order to gain a bonus. These can be tricky and the use of upgrades is highly advisable should you wish to shoot down every invader on a bonus level.
The game features five unique worlds in which to play along with 100 levels. There is a variety of invaders to shoot and they fly around in a variety of patterns. The learning curve is easy but the game can be a good challenge.
In order to bring the game up to the standards of this decade, Titan Attacks has some large and colorful graphics–all very retro in style–with a deliberate chunkiness to them. Because of this, the game looks modern, yet decidedly old. Players of the original Space Invaders will be thrilled by its aesthetics, while players playing this style of game for the first time will quickly understand that it is about gameplay over graphics.
The color scheme used is bright and cheerful, while the graphics are all animated well. Everything runs at a good pace, and the action never slows down, no matter how many invaders or explosions are happening on screen.
Titan Attacks is not about graphics–the game doesn’t even take up the full widescreen of most modern televisions–but this does not hinder the replay value in any way, shape or form.
Titan Attacks has some great musical tunes playing in the background while you are immersed in shooting down the Titan hordes. In fact, you may find yourself humming along to the tracks while playing.
Sound effects are also well realized, and the combination of great tunes and great sound effects means that Titan Attacks is a great aural experience.
Titan Attacks is a cross between Space Invaders, Galaga and Galaxians (and probably Gorf along with so many others). It’s an old-school shooter based on the oldest shooter of all, Space Invaders. Although there are plenty of modern tweaks to the classic gameplay and the game looks good and sounds great, it’s hard to imagine an audience for Titan Attacks outside those looking for some retro arcade action.
However, Titan Attacks is well presented and is well put together. “The best Space Invaders tribute ever” moniker it tries to achieve is debatable as there have been some amazing official Space Invaders upgrades in recent years, but Titan Attacks doesn’t fall too short of becoming the go-to Space Invader clone for 2014.