Titan Chaser is a mechanically rough Early Access with a great concept and surreal mood about finding and rescuing giant titans roaming the land using all kinds of bright lights.
Your only two companions are a run down, beige coloured Chrysler K platform car that’s held together by glue, droplets of constant fog and the sheer enthusiasm of the main protagonist and a mysterious, freakishly tall hotel manager named Jasper. He’s also your main contact when your car decides to bunny hop down a hill and gets stuck on the train tracks or you decide to test how far into the water you can drive.
The rescue operation is a proper X-Files flying saucer beam of light, teleport and everything. And a fitting comment from the main protagonist. There are pay-phones at different locations which act as checkpoints and it puts you at the last one you called Jasper from.
The jalopy K car turns like a barely movable drunk elephant, has weirdly fast acceleration when you turn and accelerate at the same time and is prone to getting stuck on objects, but it’s well modelled and has a lot of interactive points. Engine needs to be turned on, all the lights have their own switches, seats can be lowered, hoods opened, there’s a couple of radio buttons and a few other things, but it’s not overly complicated. It’s more like an added touch of realism, with the car being an anchor in the otherworldliness dominating the land.
World map is rather large for a small indie game and there are no objective markers. Compass, map and notes in your car are your ways of orienting yourself. And it works. It helps that there are distinct landmarks in every part of the map and road signs showing directions. Driving around the fog covered countryside looking for giant supernatural titans, listening to a great synth-wave soundtrack or a horror mystery radio drama, evokes a mystical, but relaxing feeling.
You can drive around with no purpose, just enjoying the ambience, looking for landmarks and exploring or you can follow directions and search for titans that have an inspiring presence even though they’re mostly just silhouettes. There are 3 titans for now and each has a different way of shooing it off the land, none of it harmful in any way. Imagine that, no killing. No spoilers, but 3rd one is my absolute favourite.
Story and writing are sparse, but there are hints in the world about larger things and it’s intriguing. Your character has a lot of comments about the game world if you explore diligently and those also give fun bits of lore, but open many new questions as well.
The game’s been updated a few times since releasing into Early Access. More updates are certainly coming, but it’s still very rough. But here, that roughness just perfectly amplifies the weirdness of the game world. It’s janky, one town looks like an asset flip nightmare scene from a C grade Stephen King movie, roads lead their own life respecting no one, your character doesn’t really exist as an in-game object, only your shadow is visible and it looks like it doesn’t belong to a human, titan animations are somewhat stilted, there appear to be size inconsistencies and grammatical errors abound.
And that’s only some of the meta quirkiness that, and I will dare say it, makes the game feel like being in one of Salvador Dali’s paintings.
It’s a technical ordeal, but it’s a well made and possibly unique experience. It’s about 3 to 4 hours of content for now, depending how much you explore, but the ambience it manages to craft is more than worth cursing the roads, suffering your overly loud, poltergeist possessed radio and listening to repeat monologues of the main protagonist who, as far as you know, might be having one of the best worst nightmares of her life.
The asking price is also more than fair and you’d be supporting a developer with some good concepts and great ideas that are rarely seen. Yes, technical implementation is wonky, but the heart behind the game is in every light shining from Bright City windows.
Do you like scary games? Check out our Top 5 scariest Halloween games, you won’t be disappointed!