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Funk of Titans

Score: 50%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: A Crowd of Monsters
Developer: A Crowd of Monsters
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Arcade/ Platformer (2D)

Graphics & Sound:

The title Funk of Titans evokes a much flashier game than what this endless runner actually offers players. The work "funk" calls to mind danceable beats and a bit of soul. Funk of Titans instead settles for afros and tracksuits, mixing them with dull level design and boring gameplay.

At the very least, I hoped Funk of Titans would offer a great soundtrack. Some of the music is good, but far from great and even farther from what youíd expect from a game themed around music. Each of the four worlds is themed after musical genres like rap and rock. Beyond some very simple theming, neither the visuals nor the music represents the genres particularly well. The only time you get a hint of rock music (or really any genre-specific track) is during end world boss battles. Even then, the music doesn't do the gameís theme any justice.

When the camera is pulled back, Funk of Titans looks great. Despite the lack of appropriate theming, levels are clean and colorful. The game also runs incredibly smooth, which is what you want when a bulk of your playtime is centered on making sure jumps and attacks are timed correctly. Still, it is hard to look at Funk of Titans and not see the wasted potential. When the game pulls in, mainly during quick-time boss battles, some of shine is lost. Models look a bit bland and blurry.


Gameplay:

Funk of Titans is built around an odd premise. Zeus is a major fan of funk music. Heís such a fan that he tasks his son, Perseus, with finding the titans of pop, rock, and rap and destroying them. Thereís no reason for Zeusís orders other than he doesnít like them, but ultimately, the story is just a shallow shell for an endless runner.

As you travel through each world, you can also grab a not-so-well-hidden Pegasus. Doing so unlocks a bonus Pegasus level, which is basically a Flappy Bird type game. Your main goal is to keep Pegasus aloft and collect bonus records for as long as possible. At the end of each world, you challenge one of the titans to a dance off, which boils down to a button-matching quick time event. These show some promise, but the button presses donít sync up with the music, which is just weird considering youíre supposed to be dancing to it.

In truth, Funk of Titans would be more at home on a mobile device than the Xbox One. Not that there isn't a place for it on the system, but everything about the game screams "mobile." Gameplay is simple; Perseus runs left to right (without controller input) and you either jump or attack based on what is ahead of you. There isn't much else going on. This style of play works better in short bursts than long sessions. Thereís really not much variety until you get to the last five or so levels. At that point, Funk of Titans becomes a much more interesting game, once again showing more unrealized potential.


Difficulty:

I doubt many players will have a hard time navigating Funk of Titansís 40 or so worlds. Will you die a few times? Sure. But thereís nothing here (expect for the last few levels) that will challenge you beyond one or two restarts. In most cases, youíll die because you either aren't familiar with the course layout or youíre trying to collect every record in the game. Attempting for the latter injects a little more challenge, particularly since it requires perfect timing and aiming along a set path. Even then, it isn't extremely hard to do since, even on a "bad" run, youíre likely to snag a majority of the records.

Game Mechanics:

Perseus runs. You press (X) to attack and (Y) to jump. Thatís about it. There are a few obstacles to avoid, such as the same set of three soldiers or spikes, but thatís about it. Some level layouts make great use of the different obstacles, but once again, the game doesnít get interesting until the last few levels. At that point, a slew of neat tricks and traps are added, transforming a dull game into something way more enjoyable. Iím at a loss as to why these donít show up sooner.

Funk of Titans also offers a basic leveling system. As you go through levels, Zeus challenges you with Heroic Missions, which are little more than tasks like "Jump 75 Times" or "Stay on Pegasus for 200 Meters." With some exceptions, you will complete Heroic Missions just by playing. Gaining new Hero levels unlocks new armors and weapons in the store. Armors are mostly cosmetic and, as far as I can tell, really just around for some really bad puns in the item descriptions. Itís cool to run around in a Stormtrooper or LEGO helmet, but other than allowing you to take an extra hit before dying, they are purely cosmetic.

Weapons add something new to the game, though only if youíre going for 100% completion on each level. Certain paths are blocked off with special barriers you can only break with specific weapons. Like so many other aspects of Funk of Titans, this element is neat but not utilized in any meaningful, fun way.

By no means is Funk of Titans a terrible game. It does some things well and offers some bursts of fun. At the same time, it is not anywhere close to being something everyone needs to check out Ė at least on the Xbox One. If this was a mobile game, I could see it working out so much better, but as a console game is unsatisfying and dull.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

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