Have You Played… Revenge Of The Titans?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I miss the tower defense craze of the late noughties and early tensies, seeing loads of ideas spiral out from the handful of TDs which caught mainstream attention. “Ours is polished and has funny voices!” goes one dev. “Ours has co-op!” says another. “Ours is an FPS!” “Ours is in a toybox!” “Ours is stylish and and hectic, and feels a fair bit like a regular RTS!” That last one is Revenge of the Titans [official site], one of my favourites.

There are these aliens, see, and they’re coming for your stuff, so you should build some guns to defend them. Oh, and you’ll want to build resource collectors to fund building those guns. You’ll need to defend those too. Wait, hang on, you’ll need to watch those guns and pick the best time to manually reload them. Here, maybe plop down some walls. Or some turret boosters – remember to build them in the optimal place. Maybe even get some AI-controlled robot buddies going. Oh, and try to be thrifty, as cash carries over between missions. And think hard about the direction you’ll head down the tech tree between missions.

Revenge of the Titans is hectic in the short term, as you try to defend your base and fund expansion while watching for alien hordes spilling out of a direction you hadn’t covered and trying to reload guns at the optimal time but don’t spend too much as you’ll that money left for the next mission… it can become overwhelming. Between missions, picking a route through the tech tree is equally important. Research branches in very different directions towards some mighty powerful things but you can’t get them all, so decisions matter.

There’s little time to faff, I suppose I’d say about Revenge of the Titans.

I’ve still never beaten it, mind. I’ve made a lot of very poor decisions. But I’ve certainly enjoyed failing.

34 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Grizzly says:

    Oooh, I remember being this in a bundle alongside some other games, like Gratuitous space battles and And Yet It Moves, but I never played this one. The way you talk about it does make me rather interested though. Thanks Alice!

    • CherryPhosphate says:

      I’d recommend it Grizzly. It’s got a lovely cartoon style about it and a very hard edge underneath; it never lets you get comfortable so every level feels like a struggle.

    • Premium User Badge

      Grizzly says:

      So I finished playing this after a week, and I must say that I did not find the difficulty all that bad. I can not yet say if this means that I am a grand master of placing turrets or because of my liberal usage of the respec research button to try different tactics.

      I had a lot of fun. I did dabble in the endless mode a bit but it lacks the bosses that make the main game a bit more interesting: The main game itself is well worth it though!

  2. Awesomeclaw says:

    Revenge of the Titans is fun but gets REALLY difficult. Puppygames’s other games (especially Ultratron) are also really good.

    • SomeDuder says:

      Aye, all their games share some common traits:

      -Droids, robots, titans, they either gotta die or you control to make others die, set to a chiptune soundtrack
      -Graphical style and assets are shared between games, and none the worse for it and are actually quite charming
      -Disgusting betraying difficulty that makes you question yourself as a person

      Seriously tho, as much as I would love to play these games to completion, I could only finish Ultratron. revenge of the Titans gets pretty damn hard after a few missions, and by the time you get to Mars you’ll be replaying earlier stuff to try and get as much money as possible.

  3. LexW1 says:

    I bought it because I loved the visual style (very Atari ST/Amiga era, which is more my time than the 8-bit era), and it was pretty fun, but I felt like it ramped up in difficulty a lot faster than I ramped up in skill, and it wasn’t quite as fun to fail as some games. Still, that visual design…

  4. Premium User Badge

    adammtlx says:

    Great game, but it’s definitely one of those that gets so hard that eventually I just give up. I’m still glad I bought it, but have made peace with the fact that I’ll probably never, ever finish it.

  5. phanatic62 says:

    I’m a big TD fan, but this one never clicked with me. I think it was the open nature of the maps combined with the difficulty. I didn’t play long enough to learn the optimal way to play the game, and I definitely ran into a wall after not saving enough money for later missions. As I remember you could go back and replay earlier missions to keep the marginal money, but by the time I realized it I didn’t have the heart to go back and play earlier missions I had barely won in the first place.

    It always seemed like a game I wanted to like, but I didn’t have fun while playing it.

    • Bull0 says:

      You’ve summed up my feelings on the game accurately enough that I feel no need to comment beyond this statement, bravo.

  6. Rane2k says:

    As others have mentioned, the difficulty ramps up quite hard. I restarted the campaign a few times, as there is a death spiral, when you lose some towers in a mission and have to rebuild them (to not die), then the missing cash makes the next mission harder.
    Sometimes its not immediately apparent, if you had amassed a bit of a stash, but a few missions down the line you will feel it.

    I think I abandoned the game around the third or fourth planet, and put it in my steam category “Bastard Hard”. Theres not many games in there, but this is one that made it.

  7. Arathain says:

    I could never quite get into this one. Some of it is personal: I don’t like TD games in which you need to save currency between levels, because you always have to second guess what the game is about to throw at you, rather than just building the best defense you possibly can (overkill is the best kill).

    I was also rather bewildered by the tech tree, which makes it hard to know what you’re going to get for any given investment, or what you’ll struggle without.

  8. Synesthesia says:

    An excellent game, but had some real stupid difficulty spikes. I only got as far as mars.

  9. Big Murray says:

    Glad to know, reading the comments, that I’m not the only one who found this game difficult as feck.

  10. princec says:

    I always wondered why everybody always refused to click on the “give me an easier level” button.

    A bit later on I stopped wondering and sneakily automatically applied it when someone looked like they were getting stuck.

    A bit later on after than I got complaints that it was automatically applied and had to add a checkbox option to prevent it making the game easier. Bonkers. It takes all sorts.

    • Baines says:

      That is understandable. Different people want different things. Some people want to just get through a game, while others want to truly “beat” a game.

      It wasn’t too long ago that I was reading an article that praised Resident Evil 4’s adaptive difficulty system, but I found it somewhat annoying when playing the game. Upon realizing the game was making itself easier after you died a few times, you could feel robbed. When you finally did clear an area, it wasn’t because you overcame the initially planned challenge, but rather that you overcame some simpler challenge.

      Some people were fine with that, while others weren’t. This is presumably why the devs made the difficulty changes secret (at least unless you notice something like an area now having fewer enemies), because they knew people would be upset (including some of the people that really needed such a difficulty downgrade to keep playing the game.)

      Worse, if you really did want to keep playing at full difficulty while dying, it meant that you had to reload from your last save instead of just continuing, because there was no way to disable the system.

  11. Captain Deadlock says:

    All of their games are great, unpretentious. “Retro” but slick. Droid Assault is the closest thing to ye olde Paradroid I’ve ever played.

  12. Alberto says:

    I love this sooo much. And the comical interludes with the egghead and the general.

    I wasn’t bad at it, but each level was so furious and intense, I had to take some long pauses between sessions.

  13. Premium User Badge

    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I got it in one of the first Humble Bundles, played it and then stopped playing it once I realized it was a tower defense game.

  14. alms says:

    I usually describe this one as “RoTTen hard”

  15. jrodman says:

    As others are saying, the difficulty never worked for me.

    Adaptive difficulty is an interesting idea, but in this game it kind of makes you suffer before it lets you dial down or auto-dials down the experience.

    Slower ramping up would help, and letting the user actually dial down the difficulty at-will would help a lot as well.

    • princec says:

      There’s an easy way to make the game easier… spend your money. The difficulty is based on the amount of money you have hoarded – simple as that. If you try and hoard $25,000 it assumes you’re a brilliant player and need more of a challenge (which is correct – if you’ve managed to save up that much money it’s clearly a walk in the park)

      • jrodman says:

        Easier would be if the player could choose Easy.

        • princec says:

          You can choose Easy.

          • jrodman says:

            When I last played, whatever you did, the game was going to choose hard for you after a couple of levels. Then you had to manipulate the game into going back into easy.

            This is not the experience one wants when one wants easy.

            This is a really common thing with this game, people don’t enjoy the difficulty spike. People like to learn to play a game at a difficulty that is right for them. For some people that’s super difficult but not many.

          • princec says:

            I mean there’s actually an “Easy” mode on the title screen. The whole game is just easier from start to finish.

            The game still gets harder when you’re doing exceptionally well. Just not as hard.

            As I’ve said though… the reason it gets harder is because you’ve got loads of money. It encourages you to spend your money.

          • jrodman says:

            I was going to retest, but I forgot that there aren’t demos anymore. So I guess I have to stay with “I tried the dynamic difficulty, I made an honest attempt to read the documentation and make use of the control features, and the game did not offer an actual easy experience.”

          • princec says:

            Steam’s refund policy means all games are demos now – give it a try and just ditch it if you don’t like it!

          • jrodman says:

            First: I do not return games unless they are defective. Doing otherwise feels dishonest to me. If other people make other choices that’s their decision.

            Second: Performing a credit card transaction to reconfirm something you’re basically agreeing with doesn’t seem worth it.

          • princec says:

            Ah well, as you wish. As developers we don’t consider the use of refunds for games you just don’t like to be a problem.

  16. The Master Chief from Halo says:

    Yeah, the difficulty was a problem for me. Specifically the fact that it snowballed after a couple non-optimized wins, and it’s not transparent about how this happens or how to solve it.

    And the UI has problems that mask a lot of how the game actually works. It’s like 95% of the way there to being a perfect game but the more you play it the more the problems stand out and you just end up quitting.