November 19, 2016

Revenge of the Titans

Tags: A Gamedev Plays

This post is from the now defunct website “A GameDev Plays…”, copied here for posterity

Revenge of the Titans is an amuse-bouche for the strategy gamer. However, it is still an entertaining, simple cross-over between the tower defense and RTS game. Althought it could perhaps benefit from a little more polish and guidance for the beginning player.

In Revenge of the Titans the player is the commander of Earth forces as they defend against attacks by the Titans - fast and huge aliens from the eponymous moon of Saturn. The gameplay consists of placing various defensive installations around a small map to fend of the waves of titans that assault the main base. Units consist of the usual items such as production facilities, mines, many types of gun turret, droid factories and more. Each cost money, some of which is provided at the start of the mission, but the rest must be produced by placing refineries near map resources.

Get ready, here they come!

Enemies come in swarms from known positions and head towards your base or other buildings which they may destroy. There is a diverse range of enemies, some small and fast, some huge and heavily armoured. Your defenses must be ready for everything. Defenses can be updated as the mission unfolds and this is absolutely necessary in the games I played. There are also various powerups that appear on the map for a short period of time. Normally these just provide money, but sometimes they allow one-off events like freezing all enemies or repairing all buildings. Unfortunately, these powerups are often overlooked in the mayhem of a scenario (or at least I missed them).

Freeze

Sounds like a standard tower defense game? Not quite. The enemies can move anywhere they like across the map. Attempts to channel them into killing zones normally failed as they happily chomped their way through my apparently flimsy barricades and carried on their destructive path. When playing this game it feels similar to a RTS where the player only ever defends. The view was jumping back and forth (sadly there is no zoom functionality) as I reacted to events by placing ever more installations. Planning quickly went out the window. Good reaction speed and a clear view of battlefield actions can definitely help.

I quite like this mix of genres - it is not clearly in either camp, but combines some nice parts of both. Plans were quickly created and then fell apart even more quickly. There is no pause function to let players catch their breath, they just have to deal with the onslaught - luckily games only last 5-10 minutes. A new enemy type is added after every successful mission, and the map changes too. There is a tech tree/matrix for upgrading your installations or allowing new ones.

Tech matrix

The negatives of this game are largely to do with polish. It was released many years ago when players were a little more forgiving towards Indie games and ready to spend the effort to work out the rules by themselves. To enjoy this game you will need some patience. There are no tooltips on the various installations to tell you what they do. The various buttons are also quite small, often I have clicked on the wrong one. Similarly the tech matrix can be intimidating at first, and there is little guidance as what is required. It is easy to go down the wrong path and make your forces ineffective against the enemy on higher levels. Similarly the lack of a zoom is incredibly annoying. Many times I missed a whole battlefront as I wasn’t aware it was happening until warnings about my base flashed up.

This is a good game, but it could have been a great game with a little more guidance (for newer players at least) and work on the gameplay experience. Still it is worth a play to try the interesting mix of genres and to save the world with the aid of a strong coffee!

Revenge of the Titans is available on Steam and other online stores for PC, Mac and Linux at $US9.99. It has been bundled many times.

Doomed, doomed I tell you


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