Revenge Of Revenge of the Titans

By Alec Meer on December 10th, 2012 at 6:30 pm.

It’s more than odd to be posting about DLC for a game that came out almost exactly two years ago, but then I think it’s more than odd that dogs don’t just crap all over their owners’ bedroom floors, so you shouldn’t take my surprise seriously.

Revenge of the Titans was/is an excellent and ferocious tower defence/RTS game from the redoubtable UK indie Caspian ‘Puppy Games’ Prince, and Jim and I both fell for its unforgiving pixel-art charms back in 2010. And now it has DLC of a sort, in the form of a sandbox mode with which to battle the deathless space invader hordes on your custom-chosen terms.

Important facts are these:

  • Create your battlefield, choose your Titan adversaries and select your weapons and tech with the online editor! Add mission briefings to your levels to create custom campaigns!
  • Publish your levels and campaigns to share them online!
  • Play community built levels & campaigns!
  • Compete for hiscores!

See, I’d say “high scores.” But I am the kind of guy who says ‘twoth’ instead of ‘tuth.’

The online, browser-based editor is free for a fiddle (so long as you register an account), but as far as my febrile brain understands it, playing and sharing your creations requires buying the add-on. At £4.19 – accursed UK VAT! – it’s maybe a little pricey for an add-on to an oldish game which costs £7, but indie devs do what indie devs do. Sounds like it makes for a pretty serious remix of a pretty ace game too, and the game’s OST is thrown in along with the whole kaboodle.

Direct purchase or Steam are your options. The former does grant you a redeemable Steam key too.

I initially wrote ‘free steak key’ by mistake. Now that’d definitely be one way of ensuring an indie game sells truckloads.

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38 Comments »

  1. Synesthesia says:

    i could never, ever, finish this game. It is so insanely hard. And i tried, believe you me.

    • JFS says:

      Same thing here.

    • InternetBatman says:

      It has adaptive difficulty based on how well you’re doing. It’s a neat idea, but it’s problematic in a game with a tech tree or a tower defense game. Tower defense games, especially an open one like this, need some consistency or way of dealing with emergencies because once your base has been broken it’s broke. Games with tech trees are bad for adaptive difficulty, because the tech tree gives you a differential advantage which disappears as difficulty increases.

      I found that I would crush two or three levels at a time and then hit a horrific difficulty spike, and then go back down.

      • Orin says:

        Yeah I definitely agree, the game kind of nudged you in the right direction with tool tips saying you should probably research this soon, but I personally had a hard time knowing what to expect in the next 3-4 levels upgrade wise, especially since some things are prerequisites to others.

        Great game though.

        • Shuck says:

          I felt somewhat mislead by those tips, to be honest. It always felt like I was supposed to be further along all the branches of the tech tree that it was suggesting I needed. As if I was always a couple steps behind where I was supposed to be, for everything, and that was very frustrating.

          • Groove says:

            Yeah, I genuinely hated the tech tree, after expecting to love it. Researching blindly towards nothing more than a name that sounds interesting didn’t have much strategy for me. I could not have bounced off the game any harder and I find that a real shame.

      • Turin Turambar says:

        The game totally murdered me on the 5th-6th level, I don’t know how it’s that “adapative”.

        • princec says:

          It’s not exactly “adaptive” so much as “it gets harder as you progress and if you do extremely well it throws extremely hard back at you”.

          Just whack easy level button. And try different tactics. There are some great video playthroughs explaining how to do it right which can see you well into the middle of the Moon levels before the aliens make a significant breakthrough in strategy…

          • Carolina says:

            @princec

            What happens if I start the game with the “auto-adjust difficulty” option turned off and do extremely well? Is the default difficulty too easy, or too hard? I enjoy being rewarded for being thorough and careful during my campaign, even if that means that the game will be less challenging at the end.

          • princec says:

            @carolina – auto-adjust difficulty off turns off the thing that makes the game easier if you fail a mission a couple of times. We actually had people request that because they wanted to beat the game on the highest possible difficulty rating without it getting easier for them.

            By default the game’s difficulty is extremely easy. If you start doing moderately well, it just gets a bit harder, and the idea was that it was not supposed to adjust so fast in one level that you were suddenly stuck, it was just supposed to exert downward pressure on you to provide a negative feedback cycle. According to various logs and watching playthroughs it seems to do that for the majority of players, and for the ones that it’s still too wild for, or for edge cases where you’re dealt a really nasty map by the level generator, there’s that button which makes it considerably easier from that point onwards.

            The grand aim of the difficulty algorithm was to provide a fairly tight experience that hovered on the “I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die! I’m gonna die! I’m… oh I survived!” level for the entire game. Casual it is not.

          • El_Emmental says:

            “[...] And try different tactics. There are some great video playthroughs explaining how to do it right [...]”
            Hm… I know the best explanations are self contradictory, but isn’t it a bit too much ?

            I tried Revenge of the Titans some months ago, enjoyed the hell out of it (at first).

            But then the complete lack of information on the tech tree, what each sentry/item does, their cost, etc kinda annoyed me.

            And a few levels later, I suddenly realized I was supposed to make the “right” choices right from the start, otherwise the sudden spike in difficulty would crush me mercilessly.

            So I ended up going on Youtube, and once I learned the 1-2-3 perfect ways to complete the game, I just didn’t felt like doing it myself. What the point in the gameplay, once you know you have to do this and that, and watch the sentries do their pew-pew, on accelerated speed ?

            a) I think the game needed a tutorial/learning-campaign mode, giving you the tech progressively (or asking you to pick between two simple options of upgrades when beginning each level), to let us learn the tech tree and effects of each upgrades/items.

            And, at the same time, introduce most (at least 50-60%) of the harder/better/faster/stronger monsters.

            Then, once that campaign, covering 70-80% of the tech tree and half of the bestiary, is finished, make the player start the “real” dangerous and wild campaign.

            -

            b) Or, provide much more informations on the tech tree right from the start, so the player build a long-term strategy (obviously flawed for the first few tries, but at least it’s not just a blind bet) and know where he’s going, learns from his mistakes. It’s not the best in term of story-telling/immersion, but might be better in terms of stimulating the player to face different challenges.

            The problem with Revenge of the Triad… Rise of the Titans… haa !

            … “Revenge of the Titans” – is how the game tried to be both at the same time: you learn the game mechanisms while playing (and not through a complete database available right from the start) *and* you’re left with no guide, free to do whatever you “want”, during the campaign.

            Give the player a map or a guide, because giving him/her nothing is the best way to demotivation.

            Also, the “booh modern games have no challenge” shouldn’t blind you, Puppy Games.

            When the challenge is about finding the most adequate set of sentries/items/upgrades, the way each element works out, it’s fine. When my set is 60-70% efficient, and when modifying it will make it 80-90% efficient, I like it and enjoy the challenge.

            When the challenge is playing over and over again, or checking the wikia/youtube videos to get the basic knowledge on these elements (while trying to avoid spoilers on the “right” sets/builds you need to find), to finally try some “builds” and refine them, it’s a wrong challenge system.

            I hope Puppy Games will get that sorted out in an update, or at least in the next projects, it’s too bad to see such potential suffering from a little design misconception.

    • Shuck says:

      I thought I was just terrible at it (though I probably am), and it’s just been sitting there, mocking my incompetence. Apparently I should uninstall the game and forget about trying to complete it, as I’m clearly never going to manage it.

      • Turk Anjaydee says:

        No. You should not succumb to mediocrity but instead strive for greatness and finish the game so that next time there’s an article about it, you can say how you’re Spartacus and no one will yell the same for they know no one would believe them.

    • Joshua Northey says:

      One thing I never understood about this game is that my friend and I both had it, but purchased a few months apart and we had vastly different versions. The tech tree was a little different and some of the mechanics, and both of them were fully up to date. We never could figure it out. It was like one of us had installed a major mod, except neither of us had.

    • LintMan says:

      I’m a TD fan and had been looking forward to Revenge of the Titans, but I also found it crushingly difficult and gave up on it. And then, IIRC, the devs added some sort of option to disable some of the difficulty upscaling, so I tried it again and was still getting crushed. Really disappointing.

      • princec says:

        You must have not noticed the Generate Easier Level button too.

        You don’t even really have to notice it because after 3 attempts at a level it automatically starts making it easier whether you want it to or not, until you succeed.

        • jrodman says:

          I think the main problem is this button wasn’t present when the game was released.

          I played it and said “give it an EASY mode and I’ll buy 3 copies” and it went ignored, I guess.

          Even still, forcing me to click it over and over seems ridiculous. Just give me a slider and I will peg it at 0 difficulty until the game has proven to me that it needs more.

          • princec says:

            It starts out at “trivially easy” difficulty. The problem is it – and you – don’t know how good you are at playing it, so it makes small upward adjustments (or downward) depending on how well you’re doing, which is fundamentally based on how much money you’ve got hoarded and how many powerups you’ve hoarded.

            As making the game “trivial unless you tell me otherwise” tends to make for exceedingly dull games, we didn’t do that. It’s deliberately challenging, coz that’s how we make our games, as we’re kind of sick of the tedious anodyne nature of modern gaming and it’s zero effort mentality. It’s a game to master.

            btw I’ve never even got to Titan without whacking that button a few times, but then I tend to do very well on the earlier levels and stockpile a lot of cash. Cash = turrets and turrets = winning.

          • jrodman says:

            Yes, and that game design you feel is the right way to do things is still no the game I want to pay for. Different people enjoy different things and many games come with [x] Easy, that sticks.

    • kalirion says:

      The main problem is if you hoard cash and powerups and build the really high tech buildings/towers – that pisses the titans off and they get much harder.

      When I hit a wall near the end of the game, I went back a couple levels and used up most of my power ups, then avoid building laser towers on the level I had a problem with, and beat it easily.

  2. Pace says:

    Cat people just have no clue.

  3. InternetBatman says:

    I really tried to like this game, but I found that it wasn’t equal to the sum of its parts. The worst part was the difficulty spikes, but I found the tech tree a bit too slow and the resource mechanics a bit off.

    • Zorn says:

      I have to concur. Even with all that skill points I put in self-flagellation in my earlier
      days, when still playing on a C-64 while everyone was getting their first Amigas,
      Atari STs and even PC, I was beaten down, kicked in the dust, until I recognized I’ll
      be trying this unto the end of days, and there are still so many other things waiting
      to punish me. :-)

      • princec says:

        All you have to to is press the “Easier level” button until it’s easy enough for you to continue, though. No shame in doing that, although you get a less shiny medal…

        • spectone says:

          Maybe you should make easy default and add a extremely difficult mode switch.

          But now that you mention easy I might go back and try it. I recently looked at it on my games list and thought I would like to play it again but was put off by the difficulty.

        • spectone says:

          Also you can’t actually tell what level you are playing until after the first mission. Even then it is very difficult and the changing the level is very hard to find. Took me five minutes even though I knew it was there.

          • princec says:

            It starts out at “trivially easy” and gets very gradually better until it starts to punish you, at which point it gets easier again. Hitting the “Easy” button is just your way to tell the game that “hey I’ve had enough, this is too hard”. Don’t be afraid to use it.

  4. Moraven says:

    Found this hard to get into due to the pathing of the Titans. They typically followed a road but not. Some places your towers were safe, some they decide to chomp away. Figuring out what to use and combinations were not straight forward.

    Defense Grid was simple, had various modes and reason to replay for that high score.

    Savage Moon (on PS3) has some of both games, in that there is attacking waves but they seem to act at random what they attack. At least the tech and towers were a bit more simple to understand.

    • princec says:

      It is a sort of corralling problem, rather just a timing and space problem that tower defence games have. You need to “herd” the aliens, and deal with a bit of attrition.

  5. iucounu says:

    I kind of bounced off it, myself. Never could quite work out how to plan.

  6. MiniMatt says:

    odd that dogs don’t just crap all over their owners’ bedroom floors

    They crap in the park where they can show off to all their mates – “Look! I’ve trained him to PICK UP MY FAECES with a (ripped) tesco carrier bag”.

  7. RHGillen says:

    Speak of the devil, I was just playing this game yesterday. I love the style, although the difficulty causes me to play only a couple levels at a time. I feel like I need to recover after those hard fought battles. I’m pretty sure I’m still at “maximum” difficulty. I wasn’t aware of the sliding scale, so I’ve been thinking to myself “this is nuts, I consider myself great at video games, how do average or poor players ever get through this?” but now I hear the difficulty adjusts itself. I like that. I like the threat of failing once or twice on each level, then finally overcoming it.

    In fact, from my perspective this game is considerably easier than many NES games of my childhood. I had to play Double Dragon (as an adult just a few years ago) for twelve hours over a few days to beat it. It’s only a thirty minute game. And my success had culminated in a last boss fight where I barely squeaked by with no lives left and a single health rectangle to spare. I pumped my fist in the air in jubilation because I felt I had genuinely overcome something. The same thing with playing Bit Trip Runner on Wiiware. No, I don’t like overly frustrating, seemingly impossible difficulties (Battletoads), but after two hours into Revenge of the Titans, the difficulty seems entirely appropriate.

    My one complaint is the tech tree. The idea is great, but I have no notion of what is actually going to be personally useful to me. For example, I am not experiencing a lot of success using robot labs, but I rushed to research all of them. I wish I could have seen them in action somehow before committing to purchase the tech.

    • princec says:

      That’s why we’ve got Endless Mode, to try out tech (researching tech unlocks the aliens at which it is most effective) and the Sandbox DLC (experiment to your heart’s content).

      It is worth me saying that for every alien there are multiple technologies that are effective against them, and there is no one alien that is undefeatable at any stage of the game just because you’ve not got the most effective tech. What will happen is you waste all your money on less effective tech dealing with them… and then the next level will be really easy as a result.

      • RHGillen says:

        One other thing I’ve noticed that seems like kind of an “exploit” in the campaign is the ability to wait until there’s one weak creature left on the map and continue to block it in with walls. Ultimately you can mine all of the crystals on every level this way. Was this something you guys knew about but saw it as a biproduct of the game mechanics? Not that this is a competitive game that needs to worry about cheaters or exploiters, but I seriously can’t stop myself from maximizing every legal advantage I can find. I only just discovered I could do this a couple of levels ago, but it’s helped me get all the way to $30,000+ on maximum difficulty in the Titan levels.

        • princec says:

          It’s a totally legit tactic. Not particularly exciting, but legit. It’s not obvious that you can do it, or how to do it – it’s something you have to discover, and you did.

  8. darkath says:

    Just so you don’t get desperate, there is at least one person here that very much like the game the way it is, with its unpredictable maps/alien pattern and insane difficulty.

    I finished the game when it was still in beta or something (i feel like it was a very long time ago) and in my last playthough I reached lvl 46 until i finally had enough ^^

    (i tried to finish the plathrough after a while, but then i kinda forgot why i made those technology choices and well i really sucked :p )

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