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Revenge of the Titans

Two years ago I made a vow to have this game reviewed soon after its release.  Needless to say, my best laid plans didn’t work out as I had intended.  With the recent addition of an “easy mode” to the main campaign, my interest peaked quite a bit.  While I consider myself a tower defense vet, I prefer easier, more casual games as they help to accommodate my busy lifestyle as a full-time accountant and parent.  “Revenge of the Titans”, in case you haven’t figured it out already, is a tower defense game that tasks the player in defending important structures from waves of aliens.  When the game first released, I found the difficulty to be rather unforgiving and thus, unattractive.  With the new game modes in play, I figured now would be a good time as any to see just how far the game has come ever since its release back in 2010/2011.

Revenge of the Titans

Revenge of the Titans (Windows)

The first thing the game will prompt you to do is to create or load a profile.  After that, you’ll have the option to start or continue the campaign, participate in endless & survival modes, and adjust game options.  Players now have the option to start a campaign via the easy mode button, which makes things slightly less difficult.  DLC is available that allows the player to try their hand with the sandbox mode, which essentially gives the player the tools they’d need to design their own levels.  The options menu touches on audio volumes and some other graphic effects, but no screen resolution.  There’s also an option to enable or disable adaptable AI.  The option doesn’t explain in detail as to what it does, but I’m assuming that it makes enemies easier or harder, depending on how well you’re doing.

Despite being a tower defense game at heart, “Revenge of the Titans” plays a bit differently than what I’m used to.  Having played and reviewed games like “Defense Grid”, “Sol Survivor”, “Prime Worlds: Defenders”, and etc., I thought I would have an easy time slipping into this particular game.  Well, I was wrong.  For one, your bank account stays with you from level to level.  This means that if you consistently mess up and lose money as you progress through the stages, there will come a point where you simply won’t have enough resources to defend against the onslaught of aliens.  Replaying an earlier level means that you’ll lose all of your progress up to that point, so there’s no going back, not unless you want to redo levels that you’ve completed.

Revenge of the Titans

If you find yourself doing poorly on a level, replay it immediately rather than waiting.

Along those same lines, there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes that the game simply doesn’t tell you about.  There are an uncounted number of forum threads scattered around the web theorizing about just how the game really works and what the best strategies are.  Take the aforementioned money mechanic, for example.  The money you carry forward to the next stage is equal to unspent money, +10% of any unrefined crystals left on the map, +40% of the value of the buildings still left, plus any bonuses from medals that you may have earned.  The game doesn’t come right out and say this and if it weren’t for these forum threads, I would never have known the details of these mechanics.  This can be both exciting and frustrating…exciting that I learned something new but frustrating because I’d have to wonder what other important information the game was keeping from me.

In between stages, players will be able to choose a technology from a semi-massive list.  Some technologies reward the player immediately with a cool new toy to play with for subsequent levels, and some act as passive prerequisites that must be researched in order to access some of the more advanced techs.  In a recent update, a respec option was added (with much appreciation) that allows the player to redo their tech choices at any time, without any form of penalty.  Prior to this update, you’d have to go back and replay levels if you wanted to redo your tech choices.  This respec option is definitely a step in the right direction and I wholeheartedly support it.  Some folks love living with their choices and have the time to sink hours into replaying the same content to experiement…I simply do not, on both accounts.

Revenge of the Titans

Now that the feature is there, don’t be afraid to use that respec button!

The graphics are a bit simplistic, but I honestly found them attractive nonetheless.  The sharpness of the color scheme, combined with the retro feel of the characters and structures, made things stand out quite a bit.  I enjoyed listening to the sounds my turrets made and often chuckled at the “blah blah blah rabble rabble” sounds of the characters in between levels.  What can I say?  It’s the little things that I end up appreciating.  I did notice a very annoying screen flicker, as if an old television set was on its last leg.  Through some experimentation, I figured out that you’d need to uncheck the Distortion FX option in order to get it to stop.  You’re welcome.

The aliens themselves (called Titans) spawn on different parts of the map and will make their way to your main base.  As expected from most tower defense games, it’ll be your job to lay down turrets and stop them.  Refineries can be plopped down next to crystals, which serves to compliment your cash flow.  As I stated above however, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes that effects just what you’ll get when the mission is over.  Sometimes it can be counterproductive to lay the maximum number of refineries per crystal (four), as you may end up spending more than you’re earning.  Some techs increase the 10% you get back from unmined crystals, but 10% is still 10% and is something to keep in mind.  Turrets can be destroyed, making their placement all the more important.  The game consistently reminds me to place turrets out of the main path of the Titans, but doesn’t show me the path they intend to take.  Again, this can be a bit frustrating, as this involves a bit of trial and error.

Revenge of the Titans

Titans stick to roads where possible, but are sometimes unpredictable.

Overall, “Revenge of the Titans” has made some significant leaps forward with the addition of an “easy mode” and “respec” option.  I’ve noted on more than one occasion to where the devs have shown up and answered questions on the Steam forums, which is fantastic.  I think the game could do a better job in explaining the mechanics a bit better.  A new player will be at the mercy of figuring things out on their own, which will either serve to help or hinder their first impressions and overall experience.  I myself enjoy playing the game from time to time, but I think it misses a clear opportunity to appeal to a wider audience.  The devs, on more than one occasion, have openly admitted that “Revenge of the Titans” is “not a casual game” and is aimed at those who enjoy “incredibly deep, complex strategy games”.  Based on my experiences, I’d have to agree.  As it stands, “Revenge of the Titans” is a more than competent tower defense game and those willing to do a little homework will better enjoy what it has to offer.

Final Verdict: 7/10

You can learn more about and purchase the game by visiting the following websites:

http://www.puppygames.net/revenge-of-the-titans/

http://store.steampowered.com/app/93200/

You can view video play sessions here:

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