Review: TITAN

TITAN is a short visual novel developed by Vifer Gaming set in the fictional city of Heavens Fall. Heavens Fall is viewed as a utopia, a beautiful city where advanced technology ensures a good life for its citizens thanks to the work of a famous tech company known as TITAN. This basic background is presented to the player ahead of introducing the main characters, a high school boy named Jin and his twin sister, Chloe.

After a surprisingly tragic start to the story when Jin and Chloe’s father commits suicide, the main plot of TITAN begins with their attempts to start up their own company by building on the work their father had done before his death. When they discover that the files on his computer are mysteriously missing, they attempt to restore them. Alongside this storyline, the game takes a slice-of-life approach for many scenes. Jin and Chloe frequently spend time at their friend Lisa’s café, and after a strange encounter brings them into contact with a lonely girl named Yuna, they start getting to know her as well.

Most of TITAN is told in a traditional ADV-style format, with the character sprites displayed on the screen as the dialogue and narration appears. From time to time, you have simple choices to make, and other forms of light interaction come into play through text messages and computer files. These interactions are enjoyable, although waiting for text messages is a little annoying since clicking the screen doesn’t speed them up, unlike regular dialogue. The interactivity works best in the computer sections; putting the burden on the player to check files and attachments increases the tension.

Unfortunately, the choices themselves don’t have much of an effect. On my first playthrough, I accepted Lisa’s invitation to visit the café, and I was curious about how events would play out without that scene. Once I finished, I started a second playthrough and refused… only for Lisa to talk Jin into it anyway. Every choice was the same—a few new lines of dialogue (and one section where I got to change the café’s music) but ultimately the same outcome. It feels like it’s really a kinetic novel at heart.

The art is nice, although I felt the character sprites clashed a little with the background art; both are fine, but at times it seems like they don’t go together. The music also fits the scenes well and helps to build the atmosphere, although I recognized one track as being a Final Fantasy remix, and indeed, it was listed in the credits as such. Now, the reason I keep mentioning tension and the atmosphere is because TITAN actually introduces some horror elements partway through.

From the story’s premise—a supposed utopia with a massive corporation at the heart of the city—I expected things to get dystopian or at least reveal that TITAN is up to no good, but I was pleasantly surprised by how creepy and unsettling the game becomes. It makes particularly good use of the visual novel format to convey disturbing moments and intense scenes through text alone.

The only downside is that due to the visual novel’s short length, as it takes roughly two hours or so to finish, it eventually reaches the point where the shocking moments and dark events lose their impact, because there are too many in too short a period of time. The ending also feels like it could have been fleshed out a little more, although it’s a decent enough conclusion to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed TITAN. The characters didn’t stand out too much, but the mystery and horror aspects kept me reading. I wanted to learn the truth and see what would happen next, so despite some flaws, the story got the job done.

You can download TITAN for free from itch.io.