Tak and the Power of Juju PS2 Review

Tak and the Power of Juju is a collaboration between kids brand Nickelodeon and THQ. Tak himself hasn’t appeared in his own show as of yet, but if he ever does then we’ll all know where the pilot episode aired and where Tak made his major debut. A character with a potential show, as the rule mostly goes, stars in his/her own platform game, and Tak is no exception, making his first appearance in this enjoyable kid-centric frolic.

The expansive world that the game takes place in is beautifully constructed, but still put together with those platforming staples: jungle greenery, bottomless chasms, ropes to swing back and forth on, sliding down zip lines and the less clichéd….sheep controlled lifts and doors. Tak may of opened the big book of platforming clichés and is lacking the fresh appeal that Jak II brought to the table last year, but it’s still a title worth checking out if you love the genre as much as we do. Back to the sheep, at least you are able to give them a good slap on the back with your weapon to force them to run on a lift or door mechanism in a similar way that you would on one of those running machines down the gym, furthermore you can hide underneath the woolly ones to sneak past anyone in your immediate way and the guard will keep his attention firmly elsewhere, Konami’s stealthy Metal Gear Solid antics have clearly rubbed off in every other game that has appeared since 1998.

Apart from hiding underneath woolly sheep, Tak can expectedly do quite a bit more throughout the games massive environments. When you get hold of Tak’s second weapon early on in the game, he is able to leap to great heights with a pole vault manoeuvre, reaching sections you couldn’t earlier reach. Tak can also ride Rhinos to smash through obstacles and get catapulted to higher levels of the environments by Orangutans comically bending trees back. Add in some downhill boarding and a ridiculous looking chicken suit that enables you to fly and Tak’s quest can be quite a varied one. Combat is pretty simplistic but a far cry from the “jumping on enemy heads” platforming heritage of old. This being a platformer there’s nothing that thwarts a more inept gamers ability on the control pad, it’s all one button whacking all the way.

In fact the game is ideal for the more unseasoned gamer with its very forgiving restart points. We don’t mind a relatively easy game especially if the environment holds our interest and gameplay is almost as solid as gold in the execution, Tak achieves both, the only thing against the title is its bigger and better rivals. Not as if Tak doesn’t pose a challenge though, because it does, there are times of frustration but the game always remains enjoyable without any terribly painful moments.

Collecting coloured feathers (to restore health and use magic) is a necessity in the world of Tak as collecting is a necessity in every other platforming game that has graced our screens over the years. When the game begins to open up, which happens quite rapidly, Juju magic can also be found throughout the environments and is an essential part of progress. The Mana Magnet for instant allows you to get feathers quicker and easier as the power makes them come to you (which doesn’t cost you any feathers in the process), then there’s the Restoration Dance -which is powered by Tak’s rattle- that allows you to heal at the cost of 75 feathers. There are many more powers to uncover (16 is the grand total), and this is one area of Tak where the appeal is freshened up a little.

Tak is set in a gorgeous world brimming with detail, leaving the game not any less delightful then Jak II to look at. Pop-up and slow-down is mostly non-existent and environments and characters are richly detailed, backed up by some fantastic animations.

Like we said earlier on in this review, the only thing blockading Tak and the Power of Juju from being a better game is the fact that there are slightly better platforming games on the market right now. Still if you like your platform games to have plenty of character and much lesser challenge then something like Acclaim’s Vexx, then the tribal themed Tak and the Power of Juju may very well be worthy of a place in your heart, deserving to survive on its own merits.