I am sorry. I really am. I was working on an actual post that I’m excited about, but then new info was released for this game and well… looks like I’m procrastinating it another week. But until then, let’s talk about possibly my most anticipated game of this year that I’ve been excited to see for a while now. Minimalist games are very hard to work with, in my opinion. It takes a fine detail to make pixels expressive. Now, imagine a game that combines the melancholic, solitary, and grand feel of Shadow of the Colossus with the extreme difficulty of Dark Souls. That game is going to exist this year, and I can’t wait for it. That game is Titan Souls by Acid Nerve.
Beginning as many indie games do, Titan Souls has its roots in the Ludum Dare 28 from December 13th to December 16th, 2013. For those who don’t know, Ludum Dare is a game jam where people are given a short amount of time to create a prototype game. That specific year, entrants were tasked with the theme of “You Only Get One”. This theme was open to interpretation. Acid Nerve decided to create love letters to the hard days of old and new by creating a game entirely comprised of boss battles. To fit with the theme, the playable character would have a single arrow that they can shoot, but also had the ability to call the arrow back to him. Acid Nerve then decided to turn their jam into a full release.
Before I mention anything else, I have to talk about Acid Nerve themselves. This humble but vast game is being created by only three guys. Mark Foster is the one programming the game in its entirety, and that’s a feat in itself. Next is Andrew Gleeson, who has been tasked with creating the art of the game, and it’s plain to see that he has done a very good job. The ruins that this game takes place in are truly a sight to behold. The way certain 3D bosses mix into the 2D world also makes for an interesting contrast. Finally, David Fenn is making the soundtrack. If you have played the Ludum Dare build, or have seen any trailers or gameplay of the full game, you’ll know that the solemn feeling that the game gives off is reflected incredibly well into the soundtrack. However, it only stays that way until you fight a titan. Then, the excitement kicks up.
Enough on the presentation. Time to talk about what actually you’ll be doing in the game. The player controls a boy with a single arrow amid ruins, set to kill giant beasts a la Shadow of the Colossus (which Acid Nerve has gone on to say was a major inspiration for Titan Souls). However, there’s no climbing involved here. The player will be dodging and weaving quick attacks from these titan, and both the titans and the player will be killed instantly upon hit. So while the player can only move around to avoid attacks, titans can go from covering their weak spots with hands to being frozen in ice to avoid your attacks. As stated before, you only have one arrow. However, you can pick this arrow up simply by walking over it, as well as standing still and drawing the arrow back to you. This power can be used to your advantage to attack foes from behind or to distract titans. The game will use this to test the player’s skills.
The titan battles make up basically all of the gameplay, and that’s fine. Each titan brings a sense of mystery to it, and you’ll always be wondering what the next one will look like or do. Finding its weak spot and how to exploit it will often be tricky, but with checkpoints that are close by, reentering a battle will be a piece of cake. While Shadow of the Colossus‘s bosses were mostly slow and gave you time to think and strategize, Titan Souls‘s keep you on your feet and require quick thinking and trial-and-error to bring victory. There is no penalty for dying, and battles can last from a few seconds to a few minutes depending on how quickly one side of the fight dispatches the other. The titans are brutal, bringing on the difficulty of the Dark Souls games. It’s an exciting adventure for sure, and that’s what makes me want to play it so much.
The game is sure to be a treat. Only four bosses were included in the Ludum Dare build of the game, but Acid Nerve has 18 planned for final release (these four are actually the first four in the game, allowing veterans to have a bit of an ease back into this world before facing the unknown). Testers have claimed about 3 to 4 hours of play on their first run, which is a modest amount of time for a game solely based upon boss battles with not much time actually traversing the world and fights being so short. However, the replay value will hopefully keep people coming back for more. A timer can be turned on, allowing for speedrunning and personal high scores with yourself and friends to see who can beat bosses the fastest. An undetailed New Game+ mode has also been announced, and “crazy achievements” will require skill to unlock. I’m sure no matter what price the game comes out for, the amount of content and the experience itself will be well worth it.
Scheduled for release in the first quarter of this year, it could be any day now when we get to play this amazing-looking endeavor into these lost ruins. I’ve been tracking this game for a year now, and after recently seeing a few more bosses revealed, I just had to show the world why I’m so excited for it. The action and exploration and feeling of the game just screams for me to play it.I really hope it comes out soon. If you’re looking to support Acid Nerve, check out their website here and look out for the game when it releases (hopefully) soon. If you’d like to play the Ludum Dare prototype, it’s out for free here to play online. I highly recommend playing the prototype, and I hope I’ve piqued the interest of some, as well.