Video game review: Funk of Titans - musical adventure hits all the wrong notes
Funk of Titans
A Crowd of Monsters
If you're basing an entire game around the world of funk, the least you could do is infuse it with some music. But that's the least of Funk of Titans' problems, because while it may look like a fun and frivolous download-only game for the Xbox One, it's such an incredible disappointment we wouldn't even bother with it on a smartphone.
The plot is bare bones, an overeager attempt to blend Greek mythology with the super sounds of the 1970s. Zeus, the god of Olympus, is a massive fan of funk (obviously), but the three worlds of pop, rock and rap are beginning to overtake. He sends down his son Perseus, reimagined here as an afro-wearing Shaft-like superhero, to fight off the titans of his hated genres.
It's a simple and fun premise, but things start to smell funky once the obvious isn't delivered. You'd expect the three rival worlds to be designed with their genres in mind - maybe with a bit of appropriate music playing in the background. And you'd be wrong.
Here, bizarrely, pop is a clichéd version of ancient Greece. Rap is a bland frozen land filled with lots of ice. And rock? A slightly suitable grimy underworld. But still, all of them are inexplicably lacking in their music until you reach each final level.
That brings us to the gameplay, because fans eagerly awaiting Funk were given surface-level glimpses at what seemed to be a retro-themed side-scrolling platformer.
In reality, Funk is a smartphone-styled freerunner. No control, no movements, just an endlessly sprinting funkmaster whose only options are to jump and attack. That'd be all right if the levels weren't easy enough for a four-year old: it's only once you're two-thirds in that they decide to switch them up with varied challenges.
Why change things now, when we were having so much fun with the three bad guys and just one type of obstacle? Is this really what gamers will accept as next generation? Should we be forking out HK$70 at the Xbox One store for what should be a free release for smartphones?
There's a great debate going on in the gaming world about pre-orders, and how developers are cutting corners when given money upfront.
Funk of Titans is a prime example of that kind of laziness. If you were considering buying it during this lull in the release season, think again.