Tak and the Power of JuJu
14th Mar 2004 | 17:27
Platform adventures are like cars and curries - game settings may change and the objects and creatures
you interact with often differ, but the basic mechanics are as established as the trusty four-stroke internal combustion engine or a good old ringpiece-scorching vindaloo.
Where Tak And The Power Of Juju tries to spice up the bog- standard platform action is with animals. From monkeys and orang-utans to chickens, rams and rhinos, it's up to you and Tak to figure out how to use the cutesy critters to help you on your quest to transform the Pupanunu tribe people from sheep back to human form, and so undo the evil handiwork or a rival tribe's shaman.
Me, Shopping Trolley
Finding new animals and coaxing them to use their skills is wicked cool - at least to start off with. But even this gets dull after you've seen the same basic puzzle concept repeated for the umpteenth time, only in a different location.
Then add to this the fact that - for the early hours of the game at least - the action doesn't offer anything more than repetitive object hunting. Sure, the levels are beautiful and fun to explore, but this also wears off once you're forced to trek through each area several times over as the Pupanunu's shamen Jibolba adds more items to his shopping list for you to sniff out. What are you anyway, man or shopping trolley?
D'You Do Juju?
Luckily, the game does get a load more exciting three or four hours in. Tak picks up some pretty swish magical Juju powers like speed boosts, Flaming Coconuts and magical Juju Vision, which reveals hidden secrets such as slick pick-ups and quest items. You can even warp to a shimmering twisted spirit realm.
We could go on, but it all boils down to this: Tak's trouble is that it waits waaay too long before it reveals these better bits. Chances are, a lot of players will have taken one look at the generic and boring opening quests and written the whole game off as just another Vindaloo. Car. Er, platformer.
Frustrating but still enjoyable, full of character and quirky charm, with a bit more spit 'n' polish and tighter game design Tak could so easily have been a classic.