Titan Chaser

Titan Chaser has a great premise: You wander around in the fog while trying to scare off massive creatures with a spotlight attached to the roof of your car. Think Shadow of the Colossus meets, I don’t know, Firewatch? Only you have access to a car and there’s no combat to speak of, so you’ll mostly just be driving around listening to electronic music and old radio plays. It also takes place during a lockdown of some sort.

The atmosphere is a little bit creepy — you only go out at night, and it’s super foggy all the time. Plus, there’s this guy Jasper who’s… I don’t know. He’s a bit off. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him move. Or even blink… Look, I have no idea what this guy’s deal is. Despite the fact that the protagonist talks to Jasper like he’s a totally normal dude, I kind of get the feeling that he’s actually a department-store mannequin.

Titan Chaser

Now, this is a game with quite a bit of jank, and there always seems to be several extra steps to doing any simple thing. For example, your map is a tiny little postcard on the passenger seat of your car, so you’ll have to stop driving and then zoom your vision in order to actually read the map. Plus, by default, the map side is facing down, so you’ll have to flip it over to use it. You have a compass, but it’s on the floor of the car. You’ll also have to stop driving and zoom in to see it, and it has a case that needs to be opened in order to use it.

If you’re like me, you’ll end up not using the map or compass at all and just trusting your own sense of direction most of the time. The world map isn’t that big, and there are road signs that have names of locations on them.

You also have a spotlight, which will become very important once you get past the first titan (who seems to be named Wyvern here, but I’m pretty sure it’s just Rathalos from Monster Hunter). The thing is, you can’t use the spotlight when your engine is running, so you’ll have to shut down your car, find the dashboard switch and turn the thing on, then open the car door and exit the car — opening the door and exiting are two separate steps, in case that wasn’t clear. Then you’ll have to walk around the car and point your curser at the exact right spot to actually use the thing.

Titan Chaser

Even that long paragraph doesn’t really emphasize how much of a hassle this can be. I can’t count how many times I had a titan lined up just perfectly, but by the time I actually got to the spotlight and had it aimed properly, the thing had wandered off in some other direction.

But the most egregious sin that Titan Chaser commits, in my book, is that your car is constantly getting irreversibly stuck. Maybe it’s just a testament to my own bad driving, but I found myself in situations where my car could no longer move at all, and I’d have to use the game’s “Load Checkpoint” feature to revert back to a pre-stuck state. You can also call Jasper on the CB radio in the car, and he’ll reset the car’s position. But honestly, the interactable parts of the CB radio are so small that I didn’t even realize the SOS feature existed until I was a couple hours deep into the game.

But Titan Chasers isn’t unaware of this part of its jankiness. It even draws attention to the fact that you’re expected to get stuck. At one point, the protagonist says: “Gas station. If I call Jasper from a phone booth, this well become an evacuation point instead of the Grand Rock, if I’m stuck somewhere. Or WHEN I’m stuck.”

Titan Chaser

Yes, even the game’s narrator acknowledges that getting stuck is just part of the experience.

There’s a part of me that understands that this is partially my own fault. On top of my bad driving, I tend to get really obsessed with checking things off lists and making progress in video games. So this means that getting stuck feels like a constant barrier to progress in a game where progress really isn’t the point.

I think the true intention of the game is that you’ll sort of just chill out and relax, driving around and soaking up the atmosphere. You have a cassette tape that you can listen to, which, as I mentioned earlier, contains a mix of soothing electronic tunes by krapka;KOMA and old-time radio plays. The electronic music is pretty chill, but the radio plays tend to have horror elements to them. I love how this gives players some measure of control over the game’s atmosphere. If you want a chill experience, then listen to the krapka;KOMA tunes. If you want to really settle into the game’s creepier elements, though, flip on one of those radio plays.

This is a game for folks who want to kick up their feet and have a relaxing experience in a horror-inspired fantasy setting. So Titan Chasers scratches a very particular itch, and if that’s what needs scratching for you personally, you’ll be more than willing to forgive this game for its flaws.

Titan Chaser

Ultimately, I appreciate what Titan Chaser is trying to do. And some people absolutely love it. In fact, I can think of people off the top of my head who I want to recommend this to. For me personally, though, I just couldn’t get over the fact that I was constantly getting my car stuck in random places, and that felt like such a barrier for me that I ended up bouncing and returning to my beloved Final Fantasy XIV.

But don’t let my curmudgeonly opinion stand between you and this odd little game, because depending on what you’re looking for, your mileage may vary greatly.

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