Posted in Uncategorized

Titan Souls Review

As a quick disclaimer, I received Titan Souls as part of the Playstation Plus Free Games program.  I think that technically means I bought it, but I wanted to throw that out there in case it matters to anyone.

The term ‘Souls’ nowadays seems to be synonymous with difficult gameplay and vague storytelling.  Titan Souls, though completely unrelated to the series that started this trend, does manage to strike a similar chord.  It is a small indie game focused on creative boss battles and difficult, twitch reflex combat.  You are a nameless ‘hero’ armed with a single arrow.  Your mission?  To slay the titans and claim their souls.  You motivation?  Er…truth?

Titan Souls is all about the bosses.  Aside from navigating the gorgeous pixel art over-world, your sole purpose is to slay the giant titans that lie hidden across the map.  While that may sound like a game lacking variety, each boss is unique and most have some clever mechanic for you to decipher in order to defeat them.  Some move quickly and require you to puzzle out their pattern to get your shot in, while others don’t immediately reveal their weak point, requiring you to survive and experiment long enough to figure it out.  Not every boss stands out as a really memorable challenge, but the majority do.  In fact, I’d go so far as to say some of the later bosses (the last two come to mind especially) feel downright impossible.  If you’re not the type to dig in your heels and keep marching when the road gets tough, prepare to bounce off Titan Souls pretty hard.

Of course, some of the difficulty might also stem from your limited arsenal.  Over the course of the entire game, you will be armed with just a single arrow.  Just one arrow to defeat over a dozen elemental titans.  Its a magic arrow mind you, so once its fired you can hold the trigger to recall it to your hand, but boy did it make for some tense moments, dodging and rolling around the arena as I tried to pick my arrow back up to take another shot.  There is a story arrow for the singular arrow it seems, but I won’t spoil it here, partially because I really have no idea what said story reason is!

Aside from the difficulty, Titan Souls also borrows some of the Souls series’ penchant for ambiguous storytelling.  All of the storytelling is environmental, appearing in the boss names and pictographs chiseled on the sides of monuments.  On your first play-through, you won’t even be able to read these things, hidden as they are in the titans’ language.  Personally, I like it when a developer obfuscates the story.  I like to puzzle things out and come to my own conclusions, but Titan Souls went a little far in this regard even by my standards.  At the end, I really wasn’t sure why I’d killed all those titans or what it had gained me.  It’s possible I missed some key element or clue that would tie everything together, but after the grueling boss march, I’m not quite ready to jump back in.

Overall, I’d recommend Titan Souls to someone who plays video games for a challenge.  Beyond the normal campaign, there are also variations that remove your ability to run and dodge (yikes), and an iron mode that limits you to a single life (YIKES!).  Add in the achievements for speedrunning the game and a hard mode that ramps up boss speed and attack frequency, and you have a game for masochists.  Pick it up if that sounds like a wall you’d like to bang your head against, or watch over someone else’s shoulder if you just want to admire the cool boss designs and great soundtrack.  Leave your thoughts below if you’ve had a chance to play Titan Souls in the past, and as always, thanks for reading.

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

Hello World

A new site means a new inaugural post!  Hello, my name is Justin Sturm.  If you’ve ever met me in person, you probably have already formed an opinion one way or another as to whether I’m the sort you’d enjoy hearing more about or not.  For those that haven’t had the pleasure of my acquaintance, I’m a computer program who also happens to play a lot of video games, aspires to publish a book, and sleeps in the woods when the hot Florida weather permits it.

This isn’t the first incarnation of this website.  Honestly I’m not even sure if its the third or fourth by now.  Originally Exsturminator.com was a scheme to get a couple of college kids into E3 (the Electronic Entertainment Expo), a scheme which promptly failed when we realized the greatest limitation to travelling to California was not our credentials but our budgets.  The site lasted a few years beyond that however, and I found I enjoyed writing about video games and gaming related news.  Eventually a real job robbed me of the spare time that I’d considered my birthright as a student, and the site fell by the wayside.

Seeing as I still own the domain and have things to talk about, I thought I’d resurrect it now that I’m getting back into blogging.  This time though I won’t just be discussing video games.  Life is far too complex and nuanced to focus on just that single past time, and going forward, I’ll be treating this space as something of a pressure valve.  My head tends to fill up, and my wife and friends get sick of hearing about some subjects, so when the thoughts start to overflow, I’ll let them pour on the pages here.

If you stop by and find something you like, let me know.  I’m not the most social person by nature, but I’m friendly and polite and I like to hear new ideas.  Leave a comment, drop me a line, and thank you for taking the time to hear what I have to say.