To this day, the Dreamcast remains one of my all-time favorite consoles. It housed some of the most unique and memorable titles of its generation. What does the Dreamcast have to do with developer A Crowd of Monsters’ new platformer Funk of Titans? Both in its gameplay and aesthetics, it feels like an HD remaster of a Dreamcast game that never was. From its menu design to its music and emphasis on collectibles, Funk of Titans takes a nostalgic trip to a long forgotten era of gaming. Sadly, there’s not much here beyond the abridged platforming mechanics. While this fun little rhythmical runner-platformer has no shortage of charm, it lacks the depth, challenge and variety of most modern titles.
Funk of Titans stars a funky Perseus who sets out to defeat Music Titans. Rap, rock and pop inspire the three available worlds. Each world’s numerous levels include a mid-boss battle and a final boss. Gameplay consists of players timing jumps to avoid obstacles and collecting golden vinyls. There are three main accomplishments within each level: collect 100 golden vinyls, don’t lose any health and find a Pegasus token to unlock a bonus stage.
"While this fun little rhythmical runner-platformer has no shortage of charm, it lacks the depth, challenge and variety of most modern titles."
Funk of Titans is a runner-platformer, meaning Perseus is constantly moving forward and it’s impossible to backtrack during levels. In a way, it works much like a mobile game, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see a mobile port in the near future. Despite its simplicity, timing jumps and slicing through enemies to musical beats is fun. Environments are packed with various jump pads and enemies, although the lack of obstacle and enemy variety becomes quickly repetitive. It’s not until the last world that things like cannons, levers and elevators are introduced. As a result, the game is over just when it gets good.
Unfortunately, beyond the fundamentally decent platforming, Funk of Titans falls apart in most other areas. The Pegasus bonus rounds are nothing but poor Flappy Bird clones. They’re frustrating and feel completely out of place. The mid-boss battles seem like a bad afterthought. They consist of amateurish QTEs, and they’re all identical. The actual final boss battles, while definitely more enjoyable, don’t fully take advantage of the gameplay elements they take inspiration from. Instead of expanding on the Space Channel 5-style rhythmical battles, the final boss battles consist of three insultingly easy dance-offs that once again rely on simple QTE commands.
"Instead of expanding on the Space Channel 5-style rhythmical battles, the final boss battles consist of three insultingly easy dance-offs that once again rely on simple QTE commands."
With a title like Funk of Titans, one would expect music to play a large part. It doesn’t. Despite having three distinct music themed worlds, the background music remains relatively similar until each final boss. It would have been great if the music blended with gameplay, changing tempo based on the players’ platforming performance. Instead, little effort went into the game’s score and its relationship with the world, which seems contradictory to the game’s premise.
Visually, Funk of Titans looks like a gorgeous Dreamcast game. This isn’t to say the game looks old, rather it captures the colorful, stylized aesthetic that so many Dreamcast classics embodied. Its vibrant landscapes are diversely designed, beautifully capturing 80’s funk style. It’s unfortunate then that the beautiful art style doesn't extend to the characters, particularly enemies. There are only a handful of enemies types, which are all identical models with varying weapons and slightly different poses. Perseus looks like he’s made of boxes, and the other bosses and side characters don’t fare any better. This mish-mash of beautiful and sloppy is polarizing, making Funk of Titans feel like it doesn't know what it wants to be.
"Funk of Titans is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for old school platforming action."
Funk of Titans is brimming with problems, but I still enjoyed my playthrough. Maybe it’s because of my craving for the Dreamcast days, but there’s something about the game’s tone that kept me intrigued. Considering its low price of only $9, Funk of Titans is definitely worth checking out if you’re in the mood for old school platforming action. Just don’t expect a lot of challenge or variety.
Review by: Tin Salamunic | Reviewed on: Xbox One