Title: Funk of Titans
Developer: Crowd of Monsters
Platform: PlayStation Vita
Game Type: Vita
Download: 352 MB
NA Availability: Digital Download
EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes
The Endless Runner genre is not something I’m able to cover very often, mostly due to the fact that iOS and Android are where most of these games are. Some of these games do get ported over to the PlayStation Vita (or occasionally the 3DS), but overall, the handheld part of this genre is done on phones and tablets. I think I’ve only reviewed a couple endless runners in the past 2.5 years I’ve had this site running.
It is a shame, as I am a big fan of the genre. If Sega ported over Sonic Dash to the PS Vita or 3DS (I know you look at my site from time to time, John Hardin. Make the suggestion. Make it happen!), they’d never get deleted from the system. I’ve spent hours upon hours in that game on both Windows 10 and iOS, and I never get tired of it. However, handheld fans have to pick and choose for what they do have available, and use their phones or PCs to play games like Sonic Dash.
What I do have today is an endless runner that is one of those “What am I even playing?” games. Set in Greek Myth with disco and funk from a few decades back, here is my review of the PS Vita version of Funk of Titans!
He may look like Morpheus from The Matrix, but he is actually Zeus
The plot takes place in a version of Ancient Greece where Zeus and his son, Perseus, are funky afro-wearing dancers. Olympus and all of Funk is in danger from the Titans, who’ve invaded and brought their own Funk-defying brand of music known as Pop, Rap, and Rock. With the future of Funk in the balance, Perseus is sent on a quest to take out the Titans and restore the power of Funk.
When I first heard this, I was as surprised as you probably are right now. This is certainly the wackiest setting for any runner I’ve played and a Greek-centered game in general. After playing this while also doing a replay of God of War HD Collection on my PSTV, I feel like I’ve seen polar opposites. Granted, this wacky plot is what makes the game so entertaining, it is, as I said, wacky.
This is only one of many potentially tight platforming corners
Funk of Titans is an endless runner that mostly portrays itself as a platformer. It also has combat elements, but I would more or less call this an Endless Runner with platforming elements thrown into the mix. Winning each level will mostly be based on your platforming skills.
The game is separated into 3 worlds based on each opposing music genre and is a point-to-point map of levels you must progress to find and challenge bosses. Once you reach and defeat the mid-boss and main boss, the next world unlocks and this process repeats. It’s a pretty standard process for games like Mario and the like, but not something I’ve seen much of in runners since I played Color Guardians.
Each level is a side-scrolling arena where you are automatically driven at running speed. To reach the end of the level, you will need to jump to avoid hazards and combat enemies that appear in your way. This method is pretty standard for a runner, though the main differentiation here is that you constantly switch directions based on platforms and walls you can slide down and jump from. Each level will have you heading to the right to end it, but not before making a lot of turns beyond various hazards.
Your actions here are the ability to jump and the ability to swing your weapon. This system works pretty well, but I could never shake the feeling that it all felt really clunky. When I think of runners, I think of fast-paced action, while Funk of Titans feels rather slow and sluggish. It won’t keep runner fans from enjoying it, but I feel it would’ve been better suited to a faster pace during levels.
You’re flying on a Stick Horse, but that doesn’t keep it from being fast and crazy
The part of the game that got this right is the Pegasus Bonus Levels. If you manage to find a Pegasus Statue inside a level, you get to play a bonus level where you’re flying on a rocket-propelled Pegasus Stick Horse, avoiding any and all enemies and obstacles while trying to gain as many vinyls as possible. This starts out at a slow-ish pace, but progressively gets faster until every little button press can show the difference between making it past an obstacle or crashing and ending the stage. This is something that feels very true to the genre.
The thing that makes this game unique are its boss fights. Instead of being in a runner level for these, you’re in mini-games that require button inputs. This helps freshen things up and also add a different feel as you end consecutive platforming levels by duking it out in a wrestling arena.
As you complete levels, you can do certain actions to complete quests and collect Vinyl Records to use as currency, which are both used for the in-game Shop. Completing missions unlocks new helmets and weapons you can buy, and vinyls are used to buy them. While the weapons and helmets don’t change anything but appearance, the game is full of easter eggs to other media franchises, from helmets of Optimus Prime and Jason Voorhees to buying a Lightsaber or Chainsaw. There is just something very satisfying about slicing down enemies with a lightsaber while wearing a Lego head for a helmet.
Jason Voorhees with a Lightsaber. My main combination through the game
The balancing of the difficulty is also something worth mentioning. Each of the three worlds helps prepare you for difficulty spikes. World 1 is a cake walk, while World 2 teaches you how to avoid traps. Finally, World 3 throws everything together to make some very challenging platforming tasks.
Length isn’t really that long, for the most part. Each world has around 14 levels, counting boss fights and each level takes roughly 2 minutes to complete. Considering that you probably won’t fail many levels before World 3, I’d gauge the game at around 1 hour, give or take. While I didn’t have any issues with the length, many people may not want to be dropping seven bucks for 60 minutes of gameplay.
Thankfully, the developers took full advantage of the PlayStation TV with this. Not only is the game compatible with the PSTV, but it utilizes the L2 and R2 buttons when modifying and switching areas in the Shop.
Moving in the map is done with the D-Pad and you can use the face buttons to go through each option, be it going to the shop, checking quests, or starting up a new level. Once you’re in a level, you won’t be doing a thing with the Analog Sticks or D-Pad since the game essentially drives for you.
Here, the face buttons are what you’ll be using the most of. Pressing X will allow you to jump no matter what surface you’re on. It even works like that if you’re in the process of sliding down a wall. Square is the other button you can use here, which is pressed to attack with your weapon. There’s nothing really hard to see here.
These sequences are very God of War-style, despite this setting being completely different
Visually, I can’t say a lot of great things, but can’t complain, either. I would gauge the graphics more or less on the lower end of the Vita list, but since you rarely ever see the models close up, it’s never an issue. From the side-scrolling screen, the game looks pretty nice and the jagged edges are barely noticeable.
Now, let’s get onto what I have to say about the game’s performance. First of all, stay online when you play this game. Every single time I have Airplane Mode turned on or have the network turned off in general and I start the game, it glitches in a bad way. Whenever I do this, the game starts, but never stops showing the World Select screen, opening up worlds and levels you cannot see. If I have the network turned on, no problems.
Second, load times. While the loading sequences aren’t overly dramatic, they’re still a good 15-20 seconds a piece. Since this is also a mobile title, that sort of wait just isn’t very good, especially for this kind of game. Third, frame-rate. The game has a lot of issues with frame drops. While they don’t really hamper your timing for jumps, some levels make it look quite frustrating. When I play on my PSTV, these frame drops get so bad that I feel like I have a headache just trying to watch it while I’m playing.