Funk of Titans was developed and published on Xbox One by A Crowd of Monsters. It was released on January 9, 2015 for $12.49. A copy was provided by A Crowd of Monsters for review purposes.
It’s motivational speaking at its finest, and it comes from main character Perseus, to whom Zeus has assigned the task of defeating the Music Titans. The player is sent to clear three different worlds of music consisting of Pop, Rap and Rock. At first glance of screenshots and trailers of the game, I assumed this was another traditional platformer in which the player runs and jumps and attacks on command. Nope. Funk of Titans is actually a runner-type game in which the character automatically runs, and the player commands the jumping and combat. This revelation completely changed my outlook on the game. Let’s dig into the finer details of how it did so.
Here’s what I liked:
The game is straightforward — Each level has 100 vinyl records and a “Pegasus” to collect. No more, no less. Often, these vinyl records show the ideal path through the level. That’s not to say everything is easy to spot, but a player won’t be tearing hair out to find these collectibles.
“Simple…to play” — The full quote is “simple and fun to play,” but I want to comment on the simplicity. The controls you need to know are the A button jumps and X, Y and B are used to attack enemies and objects. You may use a directional stick to spout out cheesy one liners, but it eventually loses its luster, and it’s simply not needed for this game. The Pegasus bonus level requires only the A button. The boss fights use the A, X, Y and B buttons. It’s simple. The levels, meanwhile, are very accommodating to these simple controls thanks to smart placements of enemies, obstacles and platform. All in all, this leads to a very lenient experience when it comes to progressing through the levels, and I don’t feel like I had to fight against too many game design decisions. It was quite refreshing to play a game that moves on its own and tasks the player with redirecting the character from place to place.
Customization — There aren’t a huge variety of customization choices, but there are enough. There are 17 different weapons and 12 different head-pieces to choose from, and many of those pay homage to different noticeable franchises. Each option was fairly priced for in-game currency and quick to unlock for purchase through gradual heroic mission leveling, so you’ll be dressed how you like in no time. Some exceptions do occur due to needing a specific weapon or specific head-piece for a heroic mission or level.
Here’s what I didn’t like:
Out-of-place boss fights — The main game is a runner-platformer that is constantly in motion and filled with action segments. Typically, boss fights signify climactic sequences that capitalize on the gameplay that the game sets up ahead of time. In Funk of Titans, boss fights are a dance-off consisting of…quick time events? The humor is lost on me. The dance offs might have worked better as their own world in the game, and with those events being replaced with unique boss fights based on each world design.
Music is the focus, right? — As mentioned, Zeus sends Perseus through the Pop, Rap and Rock worlds to defeat the Music Titans in the name of Funk. Outside of the boss fights and the name of each world, though, I didn’t sense a single tie-in between the music genres and the levels themselves. The worlds and the bosses could have been renamed anything else and still have been presented the same way.
Repetitive — The gameplay, right? Not really. I’m happy with the gameplay and the backgrounds of the game. What I’m not thrilled about are the small things that make up the bigger picture. First is the fact that the enemies in the game have no tie-in to the musical genres that each world represents. We’re left with the same enemy type for all three worlds with no differences, and there are only three enemies in the game total: enemy, same enemy with helmet and same enemy hiding behind a spiked barricade. The music accompaniment is also the same for each level for all three worlds. While it definitely feels funky, it would have been seriously nice to hear some sort of variety. Finally, the bonus level uses the same few backdrops and level layouts throughout the entire game. This could have used a few more variations and different designs.
Open Sesame — Some levels need a specific weapon to unlock a door. This one is probably minor but I found myself annoyed on more than one occasion when I was making progress in a level only to find a locked door to “Pegasus” that I couldn’t open because I brought the wrong weapon in. It could be classified as replay value; I find it a nuisance.
I liked Funk of Titans. The gameplay was pleasant enough to outweigh the cons, and it made playing through the platformer worthwhile. The game is only fun in small doses, however. Once it’s completed and all achievements are obtained, there is very little reason for most players to come back to it again. Some gamers may find Funk of Titans worth revisiting at a later date, but many will find that a one-time experience is enough.
Score: Try it
Achievements notes: Funk of Titans takes about five to seven hours to get the full 1,000 Gamerscore while staying easy to obtain and straightforward. The game does get harder but the difficulty curve does not get hard in the end.