A unique, difficult boss rush game where you have to defeat bosses with one arrow and one life. Bosses will also have one life to even it out.
Developer: Acid Nerve
Publisher: Devolver Digital
Release date: 14 Apr, 2015
Titan Souls is a boss rush game with a unique concept: one life for you and your enemies. There are 18+2 bosses in total, each with varying difficulty.
The game is mostly represented in 2D, sprite graphics. Everything looks nice at a first glance – it offers a lot of regions with a certain theme as its focus, creating a sense of uniqueness. However, some areas are just too vast and empty. You’ll get bored exploring the whole region after a while, especially since they look similar.
Despite the boss rush theme, the game has a hub world that you have to traverse to reach the boss rooms. It offers vast regions with different themes in it, matching with the bosses that are located in the said region. While it looks nice to look at the scenery at first, some areas are just too long and empty to explore. It feels as if they are there just to eat up your playtime, especially since the game allows you to defeat the bosses in any order that you want.
Some bosses are hidden beneath obscure puzzles. This feels unnecessary for a boss rush game, especially since some bosses can be hard to find this way. Luckily, you don’t have to defeat all bosses to finish the game. 11 out of 16 bosses are required to reach the last two bosses, although you’ll be rewarded if you manage to find and defeat them all.
There are 18+2 bosses in total, all with varying difficulty. Due to its unique concept, you only need to figure out the boss’ weak point and shoot it to finish the fight, making each fight only last for seconds. However, this also makes the game to be unforgiving sometimes since a simple mistake will always mean death. Dying will be a common occurrence as you play the game, whether to learn a boss’ attack pattern or attempt to defeat them.
The combat might seem unfair and lacking at first. It’s all because of the unique properties of your weapon, the bow, where you only have one arrow to shoot. Fetching your used arrow is required to do an extra shot, which can be done by either walking to it manually or holding the shoot button to call it towards you. Since you need to get around the enemy to do the first option, you’re bound to call your arrow most of the time. However, enemies will still able to move when you do this while you, on the other hand, are locked in your spot until you retrieve the arrow or cancel the action. It took me some time to get used to this – I even forgot that you can dodge roll because I was busy calling my arrow most of the time.
Bosses might only have one life, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t hide it beneath their armor. Most bosses have their weak point hidden beneath various mechanics, requiring you to do certain actions to expose it. However, some bosses will only expose their weak points momentarily, and the time limit before they are covered again is very short. You need to use your quick reflexes to beat them most of the time, which also applies to bosses that move very fast. This turns some fights into trial and error, and since the boss’ pattern is more consistent at the start of the fight, it’s more efficient to do a restart if you mess up on the first try.
Although some bosses are fun and rewarding, some are just plain annoying to beat. The game only has 8 directional aims through the keyboard, and since it doesn’t support a tile-based movement, being in the wrong position at the right time will always mean that you need to retry the fight again. This proves to be more annoying when you fight the final boss. There isn’t a set pattern of where you can shoot the boss’ weak point, forcing you to rely on RNG to finish it.
Length and Difficulty
The in-game clock states that I finished the game in 5.5h. It offers replayability through the new game mode where you can use modifiers to modify your run. There is a modifier to unlock the hard difficulty, offering more difficult bosses with faster speed and more projectiles than the normal ones. A modifier to play the game without the dodge roll is also available. Some bosses will require different strategies to beat this way, offering more possibilities. Lastly, hardcore players can benefit from the Iron Mode modifier, a mode that will force you to finish the game without dying.
As for the difficulty, the game is hard. Casual players most likely won’t be able to finish the game, especially those who can’t do action with quick reflexes. However, if you are determined, you can try to push your luck – bosses only have one life anyway, so you might defeat them purely by chance. It can be boring to some people though since you need to repeat your actions several times.
You are forced to respawn from the last checkpoint, not in the boss room, whenever you die. The lack of mouse support to aim is also making it harder to finish the game.
Intel Core i5-9300H 2.40GHz, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
It’s hard to recommend this game. As someone who doesn’t have a controller, the game relies on luck to defeat some bosses. Some fights are already hard as it is, and the limited aiming just makes it worse – you’ll be forced to replay a fight several times mostly just because you are not positioned at the right place to land an arrow to the target. It wasn’t satisfying to beat most bosses this way, although I admit that I enjoy some of the easier ones that don’t require precise aiming. That being said, I didn’t feel anything good nor bad after finishing the game, and since the game is more geared towards speedrunners and hardcore players, I figured that I just wasn’t in the target demographic. It’s still a good game though, and the price is cheap enough when it’s on a sale.