Plenty of juju, not enough mojo. Review

Tak and The Power of Juju Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • THQ

Developer

  • Avalanche Studios

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube
  • PS2

rating

Plenty of juju, not enough mojo.

The platform genre is infamous for horrible gluts of overproduction. Back in the

side-scrolling days of the 16-bit systems, it was commonplace for every other

title to feature another stereotypical cartoon character jumping around like an

idiot while collecting god-knows-what in order to save some stupid girl. If only

I could have found and broken that mold…the pain I would have thwarted!

Things didn’t change much with the addition of a third dimension, and the

32-bit rigs suffered from a deluge of platform games that few remember and even

fewer want to remember. Croc 2,

anyone?

So here

we are with the next-gen systems, which so far haven’t had too many faceless

platformers. Tak and the Power of Juju apparently hopes to

change this. The game tightly follows every old trick in the book, but nothing

here will help it stake a claim in the crowded market.” Aimed at a younger market,

Tak is easily overshadowed by the PS2 heavyweights Ratchet,

Clank
and Jak, and the Gamecube’s resident mascot-killer,

Mario.

The premise behind Tak is innocent enough.”Tak, a little

jungle boy with bad posture, is seemingly the one least likely to accomplish

anything.”Yet he has been deemed by fate to brave insurmountable odds to save

his tribe, the Pupanunu people, who have all been turned into sheep by the villainous

dark shaman, Tlaloc.”Lots of funny names in this game.

Ancient prophecy foretold of the bravery of a fabled warrior who would save his people from destruction.”One look at Tak and you realize he’s got his work cut out for him.

Likewise, this game has its work cut out for it. There’s no major hook here

to redefine platform gaming, like in recent failed experiments of time manipulation

(Blinx) and egg-rolling

(Billy Hatcher).

Clearly, a game does not have to have a “hook” to make it special, but it helps

out considerably.

Coincidentally enough, Tak does don the finely feathered

garbs of a chicken suit just like Billy Hatcher.”But instead of Billy’s bright,

plumed pompadour, Tak’s suit looks humorously ghetto – which actually helps

out considerably defining who Tak is as a character.

Tak isn’t

as detestable as he might appear at first glance.”The voice-acting is done well

enough to add the right character to help you empathize with the little guy.”

He has some annoying catch phrases, but that pathetic suit really makes you

feel sorry for the lout.

Even though Tak himself isn’t so bad, his adventures are just terribly mundane

and ubiquitous.”Sprawling levels with confusing objectives (ie. no map) and

tons of familiar gameplay abound.”You perform lots of double jumps and you partake

in scads of moving puzzles ” essentially the same stuff you’ve been doing since

Super Mario 64.” Many of the puzzles are old-hat retreads,

like luring things around and riding on the backs of big silly creatures.

More than anything else, you collect stuff. This might be a hallmark of the

genre, but it gets old very quickly in Tak. When coupled with

the awkward level design, Tak‘s gameplay winds up mired in

rote item retrieval. It’s just not very fun, and at this point, not very creative.

The graphics are okay, at least, roughly the same on both consoles though

admittedly smoother on the Gamecube. The painted textures give the game some

artistic flair, but the overly simple environments mask the effort.”There is

a vibrant and colorful palette; the cartoon look and feel are clearly aimed

at a young audience. The cutscene animations are sharp and well done with plenty

of lighthearted cartoony fun, but the music and sound suffer from being overly

generic and forgettable.

The same goes for Tak as a whole. Problematically, it

just doesn’t do too anything new and doesn’t space itself out from

the crowd.” It feels like you’ve played this game before and you probably have

– in better, more interesting forms.”With all the strong holiday platformers

already released, a weaker game like Tak and the Power of Juju

will likely disappear. It won’t be a huge loss.







REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4
Tak not as lame as he seems
Decent graphics
Basic platformer
Basic platformer
Typical environments and bad level design
Collection hell