I wanted to like it. I really did but the game completely ruined itself with the design of the fights, and when that’s the whole game it’s a pretty big problem. A few points stuck out to me:
1) The one-hit kill/death setup isn’t inherently bad but it doesn’t work here. You die fast and often and then you wait a short, but painfully cumulative time before you can try again. As I mentioned, pretty much constantly, an instant restart would help but I don’t think it would solve some of the problems.
2) Death teaches you nothing. In a game like Dark Souls or God Hand you die a lot but, most of the time, that death teaches you something. You learn a technique that works or one that doesn’t, you build your knowledge and as you approach the situation again you can go in feeling like you’re better prepared. Titan Souls has none of this, sometimes a bosses’ weak point will be obvious and you can just try to attack it, sometimes it’ll have no clear weakness and you’ll be fumbling to solve the puzzle of it blindly. If you had a life bar, you’d feel better about figuring out what hits work as there could be some indication you’re on the right track, even as simple as making the enemy flash when hit. Since you just die, die and die again you can have solved the puzzle but not know that because there’s no indication and the finickiness of the weak point can have you endlessly searching for another option. Someone on my G+ also nailed one point on the head, fights are at their easiest the moment you start. The ideal run to any fight is to hit them on their first exposure of the weak spot, anything after that scales in difficulty and frustration, and it again lacks any more meaningful info the longer you take.
3) The Overworld experience means little. In Shadow of the Colossus you spend a good deal of time simply traveling, searching for the target and in that time you drink in the spectacular world around you. It uses the ambient storytelling we often hear about in the best possible way, giving you a feel almost akin to a historian in a grand mysterious place. It’s varied and crafted so well that the journey is as much a part of the experience as the fight. Titan Souls aims for this but misses by a large margin, the world feeling overtly gamey and unnatural, exploring it rewards you with… nothing. The pixel art is nice but the world is oddly static and dull, with no character and an unfortunate reliance on game cliches like “Ice Area” and “Lava Area” that just hammer home the generic feel. More lessons from their inspirations such as SOTC and Zelda would go a long way.
4) Bosses look decent but, like the overworld, don’t really have their own character. Maybe there is a story to this land, something the developers know, but it’s not apparent to me as a player. They are hugely disparate without anything that really ties them together with any central narrative or concept. Fighting them also often feels very similar boss to boss, usually in a dull flat arena you avoid them then hit them in the front or back. The best difference I found was the water-dragon type enemy in the Ice Level and that ended up being a mashup of a Colossus and the fourth form of Chaos from Sonic Adventure, though I’m not really docking it marks for that. Again I must rep this person on G+ with his mention of the vertical movement of the bosses in an oblique perspective situation being extremely hard to judge, making bosses more annoying to fight than they rightfully should be.
As it stands Titan Souls is more of a recommendation to play its inspirations again, rather than it. In the same way 3D Dot Game Heroes veered too close to Zelda, but without matching the quality, Titan Souls does the same for SOTC, Dark Souls and Zelda, replay a classic instead.