The platforming genre is split up into many sub-genre’s like action platformers, collect-a-thons and more. One such sub-genre is the runner, which boils down the very core of platformers; running and jumping. Your character moves in one direction, you have a button to jump and a button to attack.
That is how many runners work and many can feel similar to one another but a few little things make each one feel special; presentation, level design, and how the gameplay mechanics work with the core gameplay on display.
Funk of Titans from Indie Studio A Crowd of Monsters is part of this genre of platformers and after a successful launch on Xbox One, PC, Wii U and Mobile last year & this year, how does the game fair on PS Vita and PS4?
There really isn’t too much here in terms of story but the basic plot is what follows; you are the son of Zeus and are sent on a mission to rid the Olympic world of Pop, Rap and Rock to make the main music genre of funk be restored!
You encounter other Titans of the Musical Genre and other iconic Greek icons like Hades as you play the game. What makes the story interesting is the style the game has. Everything is blended with musical influence, as your character has a Afro and wears a sweat shirt but uses a Sword to fight, Zeus has a disco-ball scepter, and Hades is just jamming with his underworld army; it is funny honestly.
But the lack of depth makes the story not really engaging, but the style of the story and it blending Greek & Musical Genre’s makes it solid despite how simple it is.
Gameplay & Level Design
It is like most runner games, with you going in one direction having the ability to jump and attack. But the level design is where things get more interesting; due to interactive objects like moving walls to cling too going up/down, sliding down ramps, swinging on moving objects and more. This makes the level design have a level of depth, making the game feel very engaging at points.
One thing I really enjoyed with the gameplay was how different weapons unlocked special areas to collect Pegasus objects, which unlock DKCR-like Rocket Barrel sections that reward you with extra coins the further you go in these sections.
Visually, levels are interesting with it playing with different level tropes with care. One example is a stage where every object/character is a shadow, making your jumps/attacks more critical. Another is ice level with a lot of sliding sections. So between clever level gimmicks and solid visuals for the stages, the game can be very rewarding for its gameplay at times.
But the game has issues with the gameplay for one reason; performance, but we will get to that in a bit.
The other gameplay style is two fights for each world, with each one requiring you to partake in Quick-Time events where you press buttons, leading to you winning or losing the fight. They are fun, as the lively animations make them funny to watch. One issue with these though is that they could have been more engaging, as the core gameplay has combat mechanics so we could of had a bit of normal stage gameplay then have it interrupted with QTE’s for each round. Regardless, they are fun mini games and cap off each world nicely.
Another noteworthy thing about the game is the progression system in place. You are ranked with three metals when you complete stages (beat it without getting hit, get 100 coins, find the Pegasus) and have missions to complete to level up. The higher your level, the more weapons/head armor you can get. The head parts are cosmetic, but the weapons are more interesting. They unlock the hidden paths some Pegasus objects & Coins reside for levels and you need a specific weapon to access them.
The game does not inform the player when you select the level what weapon is needed find the hidden collectables, which is an issue; you could have the right weapon but head to the spot using a different one by mistake. Overall, the gameplay is solid with some minor issues holding it back at points.
Presentation & Performance
The game has a unique style, with it blending funky-90’s like styles with Greek settings. It is a creative idea and the game pulls it off well enough. Some stages have clever things like signs for Pegasus Idol and more in the background giving the game a lot of personality. Its usage of color is good as well, with many dark blues for stormy locations or bright greens in glass land levels.
But the performance is a problem. The game feels like it is not optimized on the Vita enough, with odd glitches when restarting the level (you walk backwards or die), frame rate can be very low even with little action on the screen and some textures/characters on the maps have low quality at some points.
That is a problem for a game pushing you to jump/attack at the right points, but it didn’t stop me from enjoying the game. I saw footage of the PS4 and Xbox One versions of this game and they did not have these problems, so I think they are exclusive to the Vita.
The game has a lot of content, with 13 Stages & Two Fights per world and the game has three different worlds. Between the push to get all three metals for every level, buying all the different objects at Hades Shop and getting all the trophies can extend your play time of this title.
I beat the game in 2-3 hours and with the extra replay value, you can add an extra hour on top of that. The game is 6.99$ on Sony’s PSN Store, so the price reflects the game length well enough I feel.
Story: 3 out of 5 / Gameplay: 3.5 out of 5 / Presentation & Performance: 3 out of 5 / Replay Value: 3.5 out of 5
I enjoyed my time with this runner as its creative style, nice art direction and good level design made up for its performance issues and weak boss fights. I feel this fun game if you want to kill some time with a simple game but not a great one for those looking for a title having more depth.
Overall: 3.5 out of 5
This game was reviewed on the PS Vita thanks to being provided a review code from the developer. You can find the game on Xbox One, Steam, PlayStation 4, Wii U, PlayStation Vita and Mobile devices. The PlayStation versions are out now and the PS4 & Vita versions are cross-buy and cross save.