There are two mindsets when discussing indie games. There’s the “indie games are worse than AAA games” (otherwise known as “wrong”) and “indie games are just as, or perhaps more, worthy of our time and attention as AAA games.” That tends to lead to some discussion about how most innovation happening anymore is coming from independently run studios, but sometimes a game like Funk of the Titans comes out and we’re shown that even the little guys can make terrible games, too.
Funk of the Titans makes the bold attempt (note the sarcasm) of combining ancient Greek mythology with 1970’s black culture stereotypes, all with the intent of making you laugh. Might a youngster get a giggle or two out of the main character’s Afro? Or the fact that when he gets injured he loses his clothing? Perhaps, but when your comedy can only manage to squeeze a light chortle from an 11-year-old, it becomes readily apparent for any adult in the room that you’re grasping at straws. It’s like all of the comedy in Funk of the Titans might have killed in 1999 (to an 11-year-old), with jokes making fun of the 70’s, Madonna, and The Matrix, but in 2015, it feels old and pathetic.
And it should come as no surprise that the gameplay is not only lacking any ounce of originality or fun, but downright offensive in what it expects me to accept as enjoyable. The majority of Funk of the Titans plays like an endless runner. Your character never stops running, nor do you have any control in which direction he runs, but can jump over items, smash bad guys and vases with whatever weapon you equip him with, and wall-jump in order to collect 100 vinyls (the game’s equivalent to coins) per level. All levels have a collectible Pegasus (but it’s a hobby horse because HAHAHA) which opens a bonus level, allowing you to collect more vinyls. Also, there are boss battles, which are somewhere between quick-time events and rhythm-based mini-games, but Funk of the Titans manages to somehow even screw those up by requiring no skill and little punishment for failure.
That’s Funk of the Titans biggest issue. It requires very little skill – just enough so that you can master it after just 2 or 3 levels – and almost never makes you feel bad about failing, other than forcing you to replay the same level over and over until you complete it. It’s the kind of game that would have been free on mobile devices and no one would have played it, but now it’s using superior hardware with a better input device and still using the same basic gameplay principles. Funk of the Titans isn’t broken – it plays just like it’s intended to – and that’s the best praise I can give it.