Funk of Titans - Running In Place?

I have a certain affinity for runner games. They’ve never been a style that I ever actively sought out, but every time I’ve managed to come across one I’ve tended to lose countless hours. It’s an addictive formula—running with minimal control over your character, the only incentive being score maximization. Playing through games like Bit.Trip Runner, something always clicked inside of me—I had to be the best, even if I was never good enough.

Funk of Titans is another story altogether. Funk of Titans is a runner, that is true enough, but it’s a runner that feels like it’s merely going through the motions. There is nothing particularly wrong with the game, but there is nothing particularly special about it either.

When I think runners, the first thing I think of is speed—followed closely by reaction times. Both of these are something that Funk of Titans never really grabs hold of. You’re certainly moving at a reasonable pace while playing the game, and the speed fits with the animations and the obstacles thrown in front of you, but it always feels like you aren’t really going anywhere with any sense of urgency. As to the reaction time tests that runners are most known for, Funk of Titans is simply lacking in both variety and challenge.

Maybe it’s unfair to compare Funk of Titans to Bit.Trip Runner, but it seems that the developers where trying to emulate it at least somewhat, so I’ll continue. In Bit.Trip Runner, the challenge was in identifying your obstacle and making a split second decision. This relied on the player to understand the tools at his disposal and recognize when they needed to be used. Do I slide tackle to get under that enemy, or am I supposed to pull out my bag and run through them? Perhaps neither and I’m supposed to drop under the rail and slide past. There were a plethora of tools given to the player, each designed for a specific style of obstacle. These many obstacles are what made the game more and more challenging as you advanced through. In turn, this ever increasing difficulty kept the game from growing stale.

I think this gets to the heart of my biggest issue with Funk of Titans—the game just feels flat throughout. I haven’t quite beaten the entirety of it; but, even so, each level that I am currently going through is not demonstrably different from the first level the game had me do. The first level has me jumping over gaps, jumping onto enemies, and melee killing enemies with spiked hats that I cannot jump onto. Other than the introduction of a swing that you grab onto and a wall that slides when you jump into it (neither of which really adds anything substantial) the game doesn’t change beyond your initial interaction with it.

The worst part about Funk of Titans might just be its bi-world boss battles. I haven’t really touched on the context of the game, so to sum it up; it’s Greek… kind of. I mean, they use the names of Zeus and Prometheus, but nothing close to their traditional/recognizable likenesses (which is fine.) The game doesn’t actually do anything with this appropriation; it’s simply a couple of names they’ve used in order to play off the name Titans. To get back to my original point, each world has two boss battles, one against the same nondescript “enemy” and another against a weird interpretation of a Titan. Both instances are a series of three thirty second long quick time events that are the definition of uninspired. I don’t know what kind of boss battle a runner can do well, but this game would have been better had these events been left out.

All-in-all, Funk of Titans is a forgettable game that I have trouble recommending. If it ever becomes free through the Xbox One’s games for Gold program, feel free to pick it up—it might manage to distract you for a little while at least.