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Funk of Titans

Platform(s): PC, Xbox One
Genre: Action/Adventure
Developer: A Crowd of Monsters
Release Date: Jan. 9, 2015

About Brian Dumlao

After spending several years doing QA for games, I took the next logical step: critiquing them. Even though the Xbox One is my preferred weapon of choice, I'll play and review just about any game from any genre on any system.

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Xbox One Review - 'Funk of Titans'

by Brian Dumlao on Jan. 26, 2015 @ 1:30 a.m. PST

Zeus created funk music, and humans dance and sing to thank Zeus for this blessing. Pagan Titans are using other rhythms to turn humans into dancing minions. Zeus summons you, his son Perseus, to defeat the rest of the music Titans.

Every now and then, gamers appreciate a bit of wackiness in their titles. Players are constantly bombarded with serious stories and premises, so it's nice to see something like Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon or Sunset Overdrive. Funk of Titans, one of the latest indie games to hit the Xbox One, has a setting that is a little "out there." Unfortunately, it lacks the great gameplay that compels players to want to experience it in the first place.

As the story goes, the mythological Greek God Zeus, who also loves funk, is under attack from the Titans of Pop, Rap and Rock. While he could fight those forces on his own, he claims old age as his reason for not going to war. Instead, he charges his son Perseus with the task of showing them all the power of funk.


Funk of Titans may feature musical genres as a plot point, but it does a bad job of playing up that aspect. The environments, for example, only give hints of the musical style in the world title and in the boss designs, which look like parodies of famous acts in that genre, mixed in some monsters of Greek lore. The rest looks like standard environments with only a hint of Greek thrown in. The same goes for the funk vibe that's only present in bits and pieces in the environment, instead of being a full-on mash-up of cultures. Furthermore, some of the things Perseus says, like "Cool, Daddy-O," are more associated with '60s beatnik culture than the '70s, making it sound out of place.

If you've seen the trailer for the game, you'd think this was a 2-D platformer, and you'd be partially correct, since this is more of an endless runner that's segmented into levels instead of being one long marathon. With few exceptions, you'll automatically move left or right in the game, with your only control coming from your ability to jump, smack enemies and break down doors. The main objective in most stages is to reach the end, but there are a host of secondary goals you can attempt. The simple ones include reaching the end without getting hit, finding 100 gold vinyl records in the stage, and obtaining the level's Pegasus idol, which lets you play a bonus flying level, where you can obtain even more vinyl records. Other goals are more macro, as Zeus offers challenges like flying the Pegasus three times or getting hit four times. Completing these goals levels you up, so you can spend the gold vinyl records on weapons and headgear for Perseus.


The levels are decent. While it may not be a musically inclined, endless runner like Bit.Trip Runner, you have to time your jumps and make sure they hit correctly to make movement stays fluid. Enemies don't attack you, but their configurations — from those wearing spiked helmets to those manning spiked walls — will make you consider how to approach the attack. Fire pits and spikes are ever present in stages, but other obstacles are thrown in, like moving wall pieces, cannons, and bottomless pits. You can ride moving walls and perform wall jumps, and you can bounce off of plenty of springs to the point where you feel like Sonic the Hedgehog. You can also activate switches that open alternate routes, piquing one's interest if you wanted to check out every available route in the level. Each world also provides two boss fights that differ from the rest of the game, since they're more about rhythm matching than endless running.

What's outlined here has the potential to be a well-made, endless runner adventure, but unfortunately, there are a number of issues that severely drag down the game. The most apparent issue is that the levels are too easy. The vinyl record placement serves as a constant guide for where you need to go or who you need to use as a stepping stone. Even if those guides weren't there, none of the levels pose much of a challenge due to their brevity and design. Only the later stages can be considered remotely challenging, and there aren't enough of them to make up for the ease of the rest of the game. This is especially true of the boss fights, which aren't so much rhythm challenges are they are Quick Time Events (QTEs) that don't even have rhythm to match the button presses. They become rote exercises, and you wish they would end quickly so you can get back to the endless running. Finally, while some of the extras contribute to the completion of challenges and opening of special routes to Pegasus idols, they're simply cosmetic changes instead of something that can modify the game in a meaningful way. As a result, only the completionists and Achievement hunters will bother to put in any time beyond the roughly two hours it takes to beat this title.


Graphically, Funk of Titans looks fine. The cartoon style may be more akin to a mobile game with simple geometry and bright colors, but it looks fine on the big screen. The same can be said for the particle effects, which also go for simple shapes and colors. There are lots of nice graphical bonuses, like lots of sparks and smoke during big fights, and light rays contrasting with the shadows in silhouette levels. The one flaw in this area is with the frame rate. It's solid for the most part, but there are enough times when the game hitches. It doesn't directly affect gameplay, so you aren't going to miss a jump or get hit accidentally, but it happens often enough that you can tell it needed more optimization, especially for something that doesn't seem to be stressing the hardware.

For a title that directly references music, it's sad that the soundtrack is lacking. The number of funk instrumentals is woefully limited with seven tracks, three of which repeat in every level for a given world. They're fine tracks, but they're hardly something that would match up with the period originals. Pop, rap, and rock only get an appearance during the boss fights at the end of each world, and even then, they're generic enough to be forgettable. There's even a track that plays by the end credits that's completely misplaced since it messes with the game's overall tone.


The sound effects are fine, but voices are another matter. Everyone you meet only talks to you in speech bubbles, so your only chance of hearing a funkified Zeus is in the launch trailer, while Hercules and Aretha get no such honor. Perseus sometimes exclaims things when making a good hit or a great jump, but the pitch and delivery is all over the place, and the samples sound like they were voiced by different people trying to imitate one another. It's a sloppy effort all around.

Funk of Titans is a game that sounds fine on paper but falls apart in the execution. The endless running mechanic can make for a viable game, but the ease in which levels can be beaten, along with the lack of any incentive to replay the title, makes this a "one and done" game. The presentation is fine enough until you notice that it is also lacking in variety and wastes the potential of its novel setting. The result isn't a bad game, but instead of snagging it at the asking price of $12.49, wait until it's offered at a significant discount or as a free Games with Gold title.

Score: 5.0/10



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