Developer: A Crowd of Monsters
Publisher: A Crowd of Monsters
Platform: Xbox One
Release Date: January 9, 2014
ESRB: T for Teen
When thinking about Greek mythology, a great many things come to mind: gods like Zeus and Apollo, titans, sirens, Medusa, and a whole host of other beings. One word that doesn“t typically come to mind is â€œfunk.â€ Yet, developer A Crowd of Monsters created an oddball concoction of mythology and music with Funk of Titans. This platformer puts you in the role of Perseus, Zeus“s son, who must travel and defeat titans. They aren“t just any typical titans, though, and instead represent the musical genres pop, rap, and rock. Can you win and ensure funk always presides over the land? Sure, but you may tire of it before your work is done.
Funk of Titans is a 2D platformer which appears inspired primarily by mobile game trends. Although there is a story, it is incredibly light and your main goal is simply to burn through around 40 levels. When you begin, the stages seem incredibly simplistic mechanics-wise. Some of that comes from the fact that it is an auto-scrolling runner of sorts. The main difference from other titles in that genre is that you can actually turn around if need be and run the other way and are given multiple chances at certain jumps if you miss the first time.
This incredible simplicity is built upon as the game progresses. By the time you“re in the second world, though, most every feature is unlocked. By that point you“ll have to deal with moving platforms, flipping switches, wall climbing, and a few other bits. Oddly, enemies (which appear on every stage) are perhaps some of the kindest in any game. They never attack you or even pace back and forth. All they do is simply dance in place before you slice them to bits. In any case, the point is that the gameplay should not in any way be challenging. Yet it is.
The problem with the game“s difficulty is that it is completely unearned in most instances. For one, there is a slight delay between pressing buttons via the controller and seeing them register in game. With everything feeling a bit slow, you can“t help but misjudge timing that seems so easy. Poor Perseus also only happens to have two hit points per level. On more than one occasion he was hit, only to be flung directly into some other dangerous obstacle immediately afterward. Simply adding in a brief period of invincibility would have helped to avoid cheap deaths such as these.
Even though it might sound like a complete wash at this point, Funk of Titans still offers some high points. After a variety of samey stages, you finally get to experience different styles of worlds. Beyond that, they also open up in ways that allow for multiple playthrough routes. It actually becomes challenging to collect all 100 golden records in one stage due to expansive levels. There“s also a goofy Flappy Bird ripoff included for some reason, but it“s a fair refresher between courses. Finally, you“re able to customize Perseus with new hats/masks and weapons. Weapons are purely mechanisms to help 100% a stage, though. If you“re not aiming for completion, though, the game takes around 2 hours to finish.
Players should expect some degree of funkiness while playing but even that is lacking. Some aspects, such as level and character design definitely fit in with the theme. In particular, boss titans are creative representations of modern pop stars. However, beyond that nice dash of visual polish there“s simply little else to hold the experience up. Stages are primarily repetitive and even the music is reused a tremendous amount. Speaking of which, it feels more like royalty free tracks than the incredibly funk tunes I was hoping for. All of these negatives weigh down what could have been a perfectly competent platformer and make Funk of Titans an unfortunate slog.
+ Fun graphics mix Greek mythology with musical themes
+ Multiple paths for many levels
- Game slow to respond to controller input
- Simplistic stages made unnecessarily challenging by problematic design and control
- Lack of engaging soundtrack for a supposedly â€œfunkyâ€ game
Overall Score: 4 (out of 10)
Funk of Titans looks like an odd, but amusing concept on paper. In reality it proves to be an imprecise (and oftentimes annoying) platformer with a lot of heart and little else.
Disclosure: This game was reviewed using downloadable code provided by the publisher.