Titans is a fantasy card game mixing the casual card battle genre with deeper trading card game elements to provide an innovative hybrid of the two. You play as an Alchemist hunting for resources to craft powerful Titans to take into battle, enhancing, evolving and fusing Titans to come up with newer or stronger ones. It’s a bold, brave attempt at bringing the popularity of casual card battlers to a more strategic and tactical level of gameplay in a way we haven’t quite seen before.
So does this combination of TCGs and card battlers work? Read on to find out…
In Titans, there are largely two main kinds of gameplay you’ll see in this game – questing and battling (of which there are also a couple of types of battles). Players begin with a couple of basic Titans to take on their questing adventures through a range of different locations. A quest will take place over several screens worth of cards laid out into a grid. By turning over cards in the grid, the player will collect materials and fight enemies along the way while attempting to reach the door at the top of the screen. A Quest will usually be three or four of these screens, giving players lots of opportunities to turn over cards and collect materials needed for crafting. Starting a quest also uses Stamina, which is the energy system seen in many other social games.
One major gameplay mechanic here is that the amount of cards you can turn over per screen is determined by the overall Speed attribute of your Leader. The higher the speed, the more cards you can turn over. The Intelligence stat also plays a part, with a percentage chance of viewing a certain number of cards on the grid before stepping on them. This can help you go for materials or avoid enemies if you don’t want to fight them. Since your number of moves per screen is also a valuable resource, it pays to be able to avoid wasting them on enemy fights if you’re trying to go for crafting materials, XP and coins cards, so the Intelligence reveal mechanic is also helpful when questing.
If you come across an enemy card it will initiate a quest combat battle. Your team of Titans will face off against a number of enemies until one team is wholly destroyed. Teams are arranged into two rows: the front and back. Back row Titans are protected by whatever is in the front row, so you’ll have to attack through those first, and similarly, you’ll need to put your more defensive Titans in the front to help cushion blows from enemies.
Attacking works simply enough – when it is your turn, you can touch the enemy target you want to be attacked and then tap your Titan to do the attacking. When enemies are killed, your attacking Titans will gain a little of energy from them which will fill up their skill bar. When their skill is ready to be used, you touch and drag your finger to the intended target for the skill to be activated on (see example image below).
Titans‘ combat system is simple, but effective. It provides more depth than most casual card battlers, as there is actually tactical strategy required here with choosing targets and attackers. The choice of your Leader Titan is also important because they give a secondary passive ability to all other Titans, like decreasing incoming damage or causing your attacks to potentially disable enemies’ abilities for a round.
Questing is really addictive in this game because you’re constantly trying to get the rarer resources needed to build and enhance more powerful Titans. This is a much better way of questing than in most card battle games which is often a dull and dry affair. The Titans developers have found a way to make quests exciting and engaging. This system really works well and will keep you coming back for more.
Modes and Features
In Titans, the single-player campaign will probably be where you spend most of your time, as you can always go back and repeat locations to grind for materials. You will spend a lot of time doing this because it’s just so addictive, trying to constantly upgrade and enhance Titans to be stronger and more powerful. There isn’t too much story content here, but a thin narrative does also develop over the course of the quests. I wish there was a bit more story though, since there is so much attention paid to every other aspect of the game so far.
Player battles appear on the map as well, but these are not live matches, rather AI controlled battles. You will face off with your Battle deck which is different from your Questing deck (explained in the next section of the review). Your rank will increase however and you will earn XP and coins when you fight these player decks so it’s worth doing, as you’ll often get enough XP points to level up and that will refresh your Stamina entirely so you can carry on questing. There’s not a lot of downtime between quests until your level is quite high, so you can continue to play indefinitely until you reach that point.
The Arena unlocks after a while, and this is where the real PvP games are to be had against live opponents.
In the Titans Arena, you’ll put together an Arena deck which is full of 20 Titan cards rather than the smaller size of your Questing deck. You’ll also use Tactics cards, which add another dimension to the gameplay entirely. Tactics cards can be bought in extremely cheap packs in the Shop, using in-game coins rather than the premium currency. You get to play one Tactics card at the start of your turn which will affect the whole round, and these have a wide range of effects such as freezing the opponent’s Titans for a round, doubling your damage, increasing evasion of incoming attacks and so on.
Whenever one of your Titans dies, another from your deck will randomly replace it in the same position. You have to work your way through the whole opponent’s deck to win. This definitely feels a lot more like a TCG than a card battler, even if the combat is largely much simpler than a fully fledged TCG. The Tactics cards are a welcome addition to this mode as well, as they provide variance to the outcomes of attacks and generally make the game a whole lot more interesting. The Arena mode, if anything, will push you towards wanting to level up and strengthen your Titans even more, since you have to use a whopping 20 of them rather than the much lower amount for questing normally needed.
Strategy, Deckbuilding and Tips
Enhancing and fusing Titans is the only way you’ll get stronger, so you need to constantly boost your Titans to advance further in the campaign which gets harder and harder to quest through. Pay attention to the predominant stats of your Titans and don’t preference one type too strongly over all others. Strong attacking and defending Titans are good, but at the cost of Speed and Intelligence. Speed and Intelligence are needed for Questing, but at the cost of attack and defense when fighting.
Most of the strategy of the game comes with selecting the right kinds of Titans for the right job, and positioning them correctly within your questing and battling decks’ rows. Since you can have different decks for questing and battling, it’s important to create the best one for each kind of purpose. You’ll want to pick the best Titan you have as your Leader, but this will also depend on which deck you’re making.
For your Questing deck, you’ll want to try and prioritize Speed stats, as this will let you turn over more cards in the quest grid. The higher the Speed, the better. You might also want to pay attention to a higher Intelligence stat as well, since this helps with looking at quest cards before stepping on them, but Intelligence is not as reliable as Speed so always go for that first. Protect your Titans with defenders in the front row, otherwise your active Leader will change if they get downed during a Quest.
For Battle decks, you are free to give more priority to Attack and HP-heavy Titans, but also keep in mind what abilities your Titans have, especially your Leader’s. You will usually have less of a chance to charge their active abilities though so don’t worry about these too much.
Titans is a welcome surprise, given that casual card battle clones are all the rage at the moment and more strategic, deeper card games are coming out at a slower rate. I think Titans finds itself in an unexplored ground between the two genres, bridging a gap that should appeal to both audiences. If this game manages to do that like I think it does, it’s going to be incredibly successful.
The Titans cards themselves are just amazing to look at, rivaling the art of all the other big names in both genres. The sense of progression you get from enhancing and fusing Titans here is somehow much more rewarding than in other casual card battlers because you feel more of a sense of development occurring with the individual Titan. I think a big part of this is the resource system, collecting and using materials to enhance and fuse rather than other cards which is a system that is getting old and stale now in other games. Material hunting is fun and seriously addictive, which I think is going to be one of the main draws of this game once people start playing it.
I wholeheartedly recommend Titans if you’re up for something that’s fun and casual, quick to play, but a bit deeper than casual card battle games. You won’t be playing a complex game like Magic: the Gathering, but somehow, you’ll end up feeling like you have. That’s the magic trick this game pulls off to great effect – packing a lot of rewarding gameplay into a shorter, tighter space.
For more screenshots, click here.
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