Nothing says Perseus, son of Zeus, like running around in your undies wearing a
stormtrooper funk trooper helmet welding a lightsaber nerd weapon. Funk of Titans is a side-scrolling platformer for the Xbox One from developer A Crowd of Monsters in which you take on the roll of Perseus as you battle your way through three worlds defending funk music from Pagan Titans. They were kind enough to send us over a review copy, so read on for our Funk of Titans review.
[The back story is simple enough, "funk music is the music of the Gods” and was created by Zeus and shared with the first humans. However, trouble brews in typical fashion when some Pagan Titans decided that they want to oust Zeus and funk by creating Pop, Rap, and Rock music. It’s up to you, as Perseus, to defeat these Titans and and save the human race from being "empty minded dancing minions”.
If you haven’t yet, take a quick look at the game trailer before we get started.
Funk of Titans consists of three worlds – Rap, Pop, Rock. Each level contains 13 levels plus one Grunt (mid-boss) and one Titan (boss) fights for a total of 15 levels per world. The level selection screens reminds me of Super Mario games. The weird thing I found was that even though you are occasionally given a choice between going in two different directions, you still have to do both before moving on to the next level. Along the way you also run into Hercules and Athena who offer a bit of dialogue through a text box, and then add some bonus vinyl to your total.
At the world level, your goal is to collect 45 gold vinyl record trophies, which are awarded in each individual level based on performance. Finishing the level will snag you the Intactus trophy, while collecting 100 vinyl records within the level will get you the Vinylus trophy, and finding the Pegasus mount will earn you the Pegasus trophy.
As for the level gameplay, Perseus is set to auto-run his way through the level. The player controls jumping and sword slashing – and that’s it. The levels do reverse direction with wall bounces and if you do end up going the wrong way from a fall the game automatically sends you back in the proper direction. There’s enough variety in the levels between jumping, avoiding bombs, wall jumping, swinging off of hanging levers, and bashing or jumping on enemies to offer enough challenges that the game doesn’t get overly repetitive or boring. There aren’t any checkpoints along the way so if you die you have to start over again. You do get one "free” hit as the first time you take damage you lose your armor and are relegated to finishing the rest of the level in your skivvies. Even so, each level only takes a couple of minutes to complete as they are relatively easy and there wasn’t any area in any level that I found overly difficult to pass.
If you find the Pegasus mount, which consists of an old time horse head on a stick powered by a rocket, you can access the bonus Pegasus level which is remeniscent of Flappy Bird without all the tubes. Your only control is holding down the A button on your controller to move up as you fly through the level, releasing it allows you to fall. There’s more than enough obstacles to make the bonus levels a bit difficult, and you really have to time your up and down movement as best you can.
There are also Heroic missions given to you by Zeus which are your basic “do this x number times” completion tasks. You must complete a set of three Heroic missions in order to level which gives you bonus vinyl.
All the vinyl you collect in the levels or by levelling up allows you to purchase helmets or weapons in the store. While the helmets are purely cosmetic, you do require certain weapons to smash through different types of doors in order to find all the Pegasus mounts. As such, you’ll have to go back to some of the earlier levels in order to get some of the Pegasus mounts as the sword required may not be available at your current level.
Now for the Grunt and Titan fights. To be honest, after going through a few levels to get to the Grunts mid-world, and then 13 total to get to the Titans, I expected a bit more. Instead both the Grunt and Titan fights simply consist of a series of QTE (quick time event) button presses. The Grunt fights are more of a fight, Perseus runs into the arena, jumps up into a boxing ring and is attacked by the Grunt. Shortly after an A, B, Y, or X button flashes on the screen and you have a very short time to press it which initiates the first sequence. Miss one of these buttons, you die and have to restart the Grunt battle. It’s not all that hard though, and after completing the first QTE, you must do it twice more before defeating the Grunt.
The Titan fight isn’t a fight at all, but rather a dance off. In these battles the Titan dances first to his/her type of music (Pop, Rap, Rock) based on the world you are currently in. After the Titan dances, they are given a percentage score on a meter and then it’s your turn. Again, simply press the series of buttons as they appear on the screen to perform your funk moves. Get them all and score 100% – which isn’t that hard to do, the buttons flash pretty quickly on the screen, but seem to be a bit forgiving. A couple times I felt like I was late on the press but I was still awarded 100% for the round. As with the Grunt fights, a total of three rounds must be completed to defeat the Titan. Once you do, the next world becomes unlocked for you.
We asked A Crowd of Monsters about future plans and at this time there’s no plans for additional levels, but it sounds like they are considering making other playable characters as people are asking for Athena – one of the characters you speak to briefly in each level – to be playable.
The graphics are decent enough, the game looks good when played on my 106″ screen and there wasn’t any stuttering or slowdown during gameplay. Funk of Titans uses a cell shaded 3D look and it works really well with the style of the game. While specific items and weapons aren’t called by their real name, i.e. the lightsaber becomes the Nerd Sword, there’s no question there’s more than a couple geek and nerd culture references throughout the game. The stylized look of these items is well done and there’s no mistaking what their intended homage is.
The sound effects in the game are well done. While running through the levels, I often heard crackling fire and other sounds coming from the left and right of me depending which added a subtle touch to the game. As for the music… it’s all funk. Not that that’s a bad thing, and there are 4 to 5 different tracks but even in the different worlds – Pop, Rap, Funk – the only track you hear until you get to the Titan boss levels is funk. It is catchy and upbeat though, and it didn’t get annoying or seem repetitive which can be an issue with some simpler games.
The one thing that could definitely use some improvement in the sound department is the addition of voice overs for all the characters. The text is relegated to a text box with limited dialogue, which I think could be better served as a voice over as well. It’s definitely not a big issue, but something that would have added that nice extra touch.
Funk of Titans isn’t a bad little game and was fun to play through. It’s a bit short and pretty easy, but there’s enough variety in the levels that it doesn’t feel repetitive, and if you’re an achievement hunter like me, you’ll definitely be going back to complete all three goals in each level. Funk of Titans has potential, more levels with increasing difficulty, and other playable characters with different moves would really move this game up a notch.
I enjoyed the game in short sessions (15-30 minutes here and there), and even though it’s nothing to write home about I feel like it’s an o.k. value for the price although it feels like something I’d definitely pick up (for a lower price obviously) if it was available on mobile devices to add to my “quick time-wasters” folder. I’ll be keeping an eye out to see if they update it to offer other characters or (hopefully) more levels down the road which would definitely increase the value of the game.
Purchase Funk of Titans from Xbox Store