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| Titans
| Titans

After playing the forward-thinking Etherlords and a select number of other card battlers, I've become convinced that the genre can provide a lot more than the traditional - and increasingly tired - systems of play popularised by Rage of Bahamut and its ilk.

Titans is the latest from Uken Games, a company that in the past has put out a lot of menu-driven management titles, such as Crime Inc. and Age of Legends.

Does the developer's experience of deep, community-driven social games transfer into this card battler? I guess I'll find out over the next seven days of play.

First impressions

As shallow as it sounds, one of the make or break aspects of any card battler for me is the art. If the cards depict a franchise I don't care for, or features art I find off-putting, then it's unlikely I'll get on with it.

After all, a huge part of the appeal of these games is collecting the various sets of cards.

Thankfully the art direction for Titans is excellent. The titular Titans are suitably epic and impressive - huge beasts of rock and flame and ice willed together with magic.

The humans controlling them are more nuanced, with delicate features and subtle lighting giving a natural but fantastical look.

The core game is simple but, for the moment, compulsive. You create and control Titans, and must use them to progress through stages of a map, collecting loot and fighting other Titans along the way.

In battle you select which enemy Titan you'd like to attack, then which of yours you'd like to attack them with. Once in a while you'll have built up enough energy to unleash special moves to turn the tide of battle in your favour. These include healing an ally, or dealing a lot of damage in one go.

You'll run up against increasingly tough baddies, which you'll only be able to overcome by levelling up and enhancing your Titans.

As you'd expect this involves going back and re-running stages for more loot and experience, but it's a quick enough process that's not much of a hassle.

So far then? Yeah, Titans is fine, but I'll be disappointed if there isn't a little more to it over the next few days.

Day 3: Evolution

Today I unlocked a new slot so I can add another Titan to my line-up. I used the premium currency to do so, which I've slowly been accruing over the last couple of days through regular play.

This has allowed me to significantly bolster my team while fighting through new areas, as I now outnumber the enemy.

In addition, since I have more room for Titans with high Intelligence, I have a better rate of success finding rare materials when repeating earlier missions.

All of this lets me gain more and more of those materials to create new Titans, and Enhance the ones I already have. Plus when I hit the level cap for a Titan, I can Evolve it with another identical Titan, and create a much stronger one with a higher level cap.

I'm getting into the rhythm of Titans quite well. The game is on next to me while I work, and every once in a while I look back to the screen, tap a few things to start a new quest, use up materials I've gained, or fight an encounter.

I imagine in concentrated form that it would take up a short bus ride quite nicely too.

I have depleted all of my energy meter once so far, and though this means I can't continue playing for a bit, it does take quite a while to hit that point.

Day 7: Continued

At the end of my time with Titans, I'm wondering whether I want to continue for my own personal pleasure.

That's a big deal, because most of the time I'll finish reviewing something, delete it, and move on. But in the case of Titans, I'm a bit torn.

Collecting rare Titans, forging a crack team of 20 to take into the multiplayer Arena mode, creating separate decks to specialise in Quests or Battles or sniffing out rare materials - all of this is great.

I've loved coming back each day to tackle the Event Gate, which gives me access to very rare materials each time I run it. And going through the motions of grinding a stage is a pleasant enough way to kill time.

But I also know that there's not exactly a lot of skill involved. Sure there are moments when a correctly timed special ability will get you through a scrape, but most of the time the philosophy is "might makes right", and a more powerful opponent is simply going to destroy whatever you throw at it.

There's nothing wrong with Titans. It's a compulsive experience that makes you want to see the next evolution of your favourite card, and pushes you to collect enough of that ultra rare material to see exactly what kind of monster you can make with it.

That being said, no amount of loot envy or presentation polish can change the fact that, deep down, this is still very much a traditional card battler.

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Titans is a well-made game, but it still feels a lot like previous card battlers
Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.