Grumpyface Studios has created the best mobile game I have ever played. Teeny Titans cleverly mixes elements from Pokémon and Final Fantasy together, against the colorful palette of the Teen Titans Go! animated series.
Teeny Titans opens with an animated sequence that could be ripped straight from the show. The Teen Titans witness a commercial for a new, collectible figure-fighting game, Cyborg comically exclaims “That TV man’s right, I’ve never wanted anything more in my entire life!” Each of the Titans are instantly memorized by their “teeny” figure-selves, the same way children of the 90’s were mesmerized by Pokémon or Yu-Gi-Oh!
Your avatar in the game is Robin, the leader of the Teen Titans and famous sidekick to Batman. Robin spends nearly all of his money on a figure of himself. It is here, players are introduced to the mechanic of buying new figures. I say mechanic, because figures are stacked against the shelves and players can swipe packages out of the way to get to whatever his hidden behind the front line. It’s essentially pointless, but extremely fun. This kind of design choice is consistent across the entire game; colorful and unapologetically childlike.
The music is popping and the voice-acting is incredibly well-utilized. I actually chuckled when, upon entering a store to buy a new figure, Robin exclaimed, “This is gonna hurt the old wallet.” It’s this self-aware satirizing of gamers that makes Teeny Titans humor so appealing.
The biggest chunk of gameplay is devoted to combat. When you’re not buying new figures or wandering around the open city, you’re taking part in full-3D realized battles. Figures are delightfully animated and modelled. Each has their own personality and an accompanying type to accommodate the rock, paper, scissors style gameplay that Pokémon made famous.
You take up to three figures into battle with you, but the types are not the typical fire, water, etc. Instead, you’re introduced to different types of combat. Robin has a hand-to-hand symbol, Cyborg represents technology typing and Beast Boy, obviously, an animal symbol. Grumpyface studios was smart enough to, when presented with which figures to choose and what your opponent is using, display a chart showcasing type advantages. I don’t need to memorize another system for this little mobile game, this design choice is extremely welcome, and lowers the chance of player’s getting frustrated or confused significantly.
I mentioned the game was influenced by Final Fantasy, the instances of combat adopt a kind of active time battle system. Final Fantasy players will immediately recognize a bar that slowly fills up, allowing each figure to use moves depending on how full the bar is. It’s a simple and intuitive system that should please mature gamers and young ones alike.
The game’s loop is kept refreshing by the colorful cast and thoughtful humor. You battle characters from across the DC Universe, earn currency, buy more figures and repeat. There are even some deeper systems present for upgrading your figures and furthering your battle-prowess, but I’ll leave those for you to discover.
Teeny Titans – A Teen Titans Go! Figure Battling Game, is available on iOS and Android for $3.99. Is this what happens when a mobile game is not free to play? The polish in Teeny Titans is palpable and appreciated.
The DC Comics license is fully utilized to fill the game with playable figures from across the Titans Go! Universe. As a superhero fan, I’m impressed, as someone who has never liked mobile games, I’m astounded.