What do you get when you combine funk music with ancient Greek mythology? Probably something similar to Funk of Titans, a newly released indie PC game on Steam that was previously released on Xbox One.
You play as Perseus, the son of Zeus, who also happens to be a pretty big fan of funk music, battling his way across three different worlds in a quest to outshine other music genres: Pop, Rap and Rock.
Throughout the game you will meet familiar faces like Hercules — who looks more like a scrawny nerd than any classical notion of the character — and even some cameos from pop culture like Aretha Franklin. Oh, did I mention that you fight Lady Gaga in a boss fight?
All right, so the game is short on a compelling narrative but at least the premise is silly enough to be amusing.
The actual gameplay is fairly solid. Funk of Titans is a platform runner similar in style to Bit.Trip Runner. Unlike traditional platformers (a la Super Mario Bros.), the main character is constantly moving. You only have to make sure that he jumps at the right moments and attacks with his weapon when necessary.
That’s easier said than done. Much like Bit.Trip Runner, Funk of Titans can be a real challenge, especially when you start picking up some speed. While the game itself can be beaten in less than two hours, almost all of the game’s replay value will come from attempting to perfect each stage through the collection of gold vinyl records and Pegasus statues, as well as avoiding taking any hits from enemies (the game allows you to absorb one hit; the second will force you to restart the level).
Collecting vinyl records will help you unlock special weapons and new helmets that you can buy in the store — all of which are just for show as they do not give you any special abilities. The Pegasus statues unlock bonus stages where you fly around on an electric horse that looks a lot like a flying vacuum cleaner, dodging projectiles and trying to avoid hitting the edges of the level.
To the developer’s credit, Funk of Titans manages to impress visually with a variety of striking art styles — including a black shadow style that looks stunning — but it never really manages to distinguish itself from other platform runners in terms of gameplay except in the form of some lame boss battles that tend to bog down the action more than serve as a welcome distraction. They actually reuse some of the same mini-boss fights throughout the game.
Unfortunately the disappointments do not end there. One of the more promising aspects of the game is also its biggest weakness. Funk music goes at the heart of what the developers were trying to do with Funk of Titans. It’s even in the title! Yet the soundtrack is remarkably weak and repetitive with no discernible hint of funk. What the heck happened here?
Possibly the one redeeming quality that could override the drawbacks is the price. Running at just $6.99 on Steam, Funk of Titans is an affordable platform runner. It really depends on how much you enjoy playing platform runners as to whether it is worth the investment. Funk of Titans is by no means a bad game; it is just surprisingly uninspired for what at first blush seemed like a unique concept.