Microsoft’s ID@Xbox program has been responsible for supplementing the Xbox One with a lineup of new games, and has done so while providing a diverse selection to choose from. A Crowd of Monsters’ Funk of Titans
is the latest product of the program, and surely pushes that diversity forward. Set in an ancient Greece meets 70’s funk world, Perseus sets out on a mission from Zeus to assert funk’s dominance over the genres of pop, rap, and rock. While this journey is a short one overall, Funk of Titans
provides a relatively enjoyable new entry to the platformer scene, but at times suffers from feelings of repetitiveness. Funk of Titans
plays like an endless-runner and side-scrolling platformer hybrid. With no control over the direction or speed of Perseus, jumping and attacking are all you control, and so the timing of your jumps and movement is key to completing each mission successfully. Appropriately to the game’s theme, you’ll find yourself getting into a rhythm of movement as you play; jumping on enemies, to reach a swing, to throw yourself on a ramp to slide down, etc. While progressing through the 40+ levels, which are divided up into three worlds representing each music genre, the obstacles become more diverse and require a change in strategy to compensate. The standard enemy minion can be jumped on, but one’s with spiked helmets require a slash with your weapon instead. Fireballs, moving platforms, swings, and switches are added individually, and eventually are all thrown together in later levels.
For those who have played their fair share of platformers, this formula is completely familiar. Funk of Titans
doesn't provide any groundbreaking new way of playing this genre, but simply brings its own style to the fold. As you can imagine with a mix of ancient Greece and 70’s funk, the atmosphere of the game aims for humor, while the artistic direction is set in a cartoonish look. The level art is pretty spectacular in some instances, whether passing ancient Greek structures, underground caverns, or icy terrains. By far the best levels are those which take place at sunset, thereby creating a darkened setting, while enemies and items of importance gleam in the dying sunlight. The soundtrack also contains some catchy tunes, but there are really only three different tracks which play during levels. Therefore they don't differentiate based on what world the player is in; it's just the same tunes throughout the game's entirety.
To provide a break in the platforming levels, each of the three worlds contains a Grunt mini-boss fight and a Titan boss fight. However, all six of these in total are composed of the same face-button quick-time events and lack any real variety. The platforming levels of Funk of Titans
can begin to feel repetitive at times, but it is the boss fights that are the worst offenders. The Titan fights are longer and have stylized bosses to represent their respective worlds in dance-off battles, but they are all relatively easy to beat with no apparent increase in difficulty. These fights come off very uninspired and as a strange inclusion into the game. Funk of Titans
, in its entirety, can be played through in about four to five hours, but there are level-specific and bonus challenges to return for. Successfully completing each level is partly measured by earning three different medals - Intactus, Vinylus, and Pegasus. Intactus involves completing a level without being hit; Vinylus is awarded for collecting all 100 vinyl discs that lay along your path; and Pegasus is unlocked when picking up the Pegasus statue, which oftentimes involves taking an indirect path or breaking a destructible door. Collecting the Pegasus medal unlocks a bonus level, which consists of Perseus riding a jetpack Pegasus through a corridor while collecting bonus vinyls; much like that of the classic helicopter game where you try to travel as far as possible.
The bonus challenges assigned by Zeus test the player to perform certain tasks in the levels. These may include making it a certain distance in the bonus Pegasus levels, completing a level with one of the unique heads, or killing enemies with an unlockable weapon, etc. These unlockable weapons and heads can be purchased after collecting enough of the vinyl records, which act as the game's currency. There's a variety of both to choose from, but only a small selection have any impact on earning challenges and gaining access to Pegasus statues.
The achievements in Funk of Titans
are an achievement hunter's dream. There are twenty-one in total, with a whopping six achievements worth 100 Gamerscore each. Most do not deviate from playing the levels, and therefore can be picked up naturally along the way. Earning all three medals for all levels in the pop
, and rock
worlds all carry their own achievements, and there's also one for completing all of the bonus Zeus challenges
. There are also achievements for defeating every Grunt and Titan with no faults, but due to the simplicity of the fights, should not pose a problem for anyone. There are no achievements (although some bonus challenges are tied to making it a certain distance) in the Pegasus bonus levels, which seems almost like a missed opportunity to have made a real challenge for some. At the time of writing the review, 13 of 53 players (24%) who have popped an achievement so far have completed the game.
Funk of Titans is not a game that revolutionizes the platformer genre, and it isn't filled with radical new ideas. The levels eventually begin to feel a bit repetitive in nature, and the boss battles are more-or-less carbon copies of one another that provide no real challenge to the player. However, the game also proved to be a relatively enjoyable time, albeit a short one, with its lighthearted theme, and relaxing, swift and fluid gameplay. For platformer fans, it may be just the thing to start off the new year.
The reviewer spent seven hours playing through all 45 levels of the game. Along the way, all 21 achievements in the game were unlocked. This Xbox One copy of the game was provided courtesy of the developer.