Not every type of game works great on touch-screen mobile devices. The lack of precision with touch screens is a key element that led to the birth of the endless runner, a platformer in which players need only controls jumps and attacks – not movements. Some endless runners like Rayman Fiesta Run have distinct levels and feel a lot like console gamers, just with less control over the character.
What would happen then if you took an endless runner and adapted it to consoles? That's just what indie developer A Crowd of Monsters has done with its first Xbox One game: Funk of Titans! Yes, Funk of Titans is an endless runner with 45 distinct levels, all based around Greek mythology with a modern musical twist. If you're looking for a nice simple platformer without any puzzle elements to slow things down, this game really brings the noise and the funk. Read on for our full review.
A musical imbalance
Like fellow ID@Xbox game KickBeat, Funk of Titans' story revolves around music. In this game's warped take on Greek Mythology, the gods all dig Funk music in a big way. They have terrible taste, but don't tell them I said that.
One day, a bunch of jive turkey Titans show up to challenge the gods and their love of funky fresh beats. Each Titan enslaves the humans of three different regions with his or her own style of music. Medusa wields Pop, the Cyclops commands Latin Rap, and the Centaur rocks Rock. Zeus, ruler of the gods, calls on his afro-haired son Perseus to bring an end to the Titanic tyranny and free the humans.
Super serious, right? Funk of Titans is deliberately silly, with what little story it has relayed via text-based dialogue here and there throughout Perseus' journey.
Fighting the funk
Funk of Titans is divided into three regions: Pop, Rap, and Rock. Each region offers a map with 15 distinct levels to play, plus a handful of (awful looking) NPCs to meet and two boss battles.
Perseus (or Afro guy, as I like to think of him) automatically hurdles forward through each level, just like any 2D endless runner you'd find on a phone. You won't need the analog sticks or d-pad at all during a level. Simply press A to jump; Perseus can also wall jump or grab onto certain objects.
The armies of the Titans are populated by mesmerized humans who do nothing but dance all day. Running into one of them will knock off Perseus' armor, much like in the Ghouls n' Ghosts series. Take another hit and you fail the level.
Our boy Perseus has a couple of options for defeating these hapless dancers. He can jump on their heads, which is sometimes the only way to collect lofty CDs or reach certain areas. But many enemies wear spiked helmets, making them immune to jumping attacks. Swing Perseus' sword with the X button to knock them out.
The Pers-man's goal is to reach the jukebox at the end of the stage. You'll also want to collect the gold CDs scattered along the way; each level holds 100 of them. These can be spent on a variety of humorous helmets and swords. Some of the best helmets look like Optimus Prime, Star Wars helmets, a LEGO head, and more.
Upon completing a level, you can earn up to three gold medals. These medals are for not taking a hit, collecting all CDs, and finding that level's single Pegasus Idol. Thankfully the game doesn't require players to complete all three goals in one go. You can go back and focus on just the one you missed, not that completing all three at once is all that hard most of the time.
As I said, each level contains a Pegasus Idol to find. Sometimes these rest behind magic doors that can only be broken by certain weapons, adding a bit of replay value.
After reaching a level's Jukebox with the Pegasus idol in-hand, Perseus rides the Pegasus through a Flappy Bird-inspired minigame. I recently watched my streaming cohost Tyler playing another Flappy Bird-style minigame in PSN shooter Futiridium. That one was just as awful as the real Flappy Bird. Thank goodness Funk of Titans' take is much better!
Instead of tapping A to make the Pegasus fly, you simply hold it. Let go and you'll drop down. Unlike Futiridium, players can actually see obstacles as they approach and have a little time to react to them. Your goals are to collect as many CDs and reach the greatest distance you can. The minigame here provides a challenge but still ends up pretty fun.
In each of the three regions, Perseus must face a grunt miniboss and a Titan. These battles take place via a rhythm game. The game will flashes face buttons on the screen, and you just have to hit them before they disappear.
These fights are not very hard, which is good. But on the downside, every battle works the same way as every other battle, making them boring. The developers should have created different minigames for each battle or at least each region.
Funk of Titans' 21 Achievements are all pretty easy to get. You'll need to earn all three medals across all 45 levels of the game, defeat each boss without making a mistake, play the Pegasus minigame 50 times, and buy most of the items from the shop.
The only challenging Achievement involves completing all of Zeus's heroic missions. These are the typical optional objectives you'd find in any mobile runner. You always have three of them and have to knock out all three before unlocking the next set. Some require players to take hits during stages, using certain items, or reaching high distances in the Pegasus minigame.
All told, it should take 6-8 hours to unlock the full funkitude of the game's Achievements.
I don't usually mention bugs in my reviews unless the game has a lot of them. Funk of Titans does suffer a few too many bugs for a game of such relative simplicity. The main one I experience involves Achievements. Every time I unlock an Achievement, the game says the active user has changed and boots me to the title screen. I still get credit and everything, but it's annoying nonetheless.
Other minor bugs have involve me breaking a magic door but being unable to actually pass through it and the game failing to return to the map screen a couple of times after I defeated bosses.
Your enjoyment of Funk of Titans will likely come down to your appreciation of mobile games. Funk of Titans plays a lot like Rayman Fiesta Run, and that game is brilliant. I find the short and well-designed levels here have just the right amount of challenge. I can sit down and knock out a few levels when I don't have time for a longer game, and it's more relaxing than frustrating.
The game's funkified theme and sense of humor are hit and miss – either you'll find them amusing or just wanna-be cool. The silly spin on mythology mostly works for me, and it's always good to see a game star a person of color instead of another pasty space marine or warrior. Funk of Titans should have cost a bit less given that endless runners are dirt cheap on mobile. But it still puts the fun in funk, and that's what counts.
- Funk of Titans – Xbox One – 1.7 GB – $12.49 – Xbox Link