Tak and The Power of JuJu – GBA – Review

In a time long past a Pupanunu shaman made a prophecy about the fall of the
moon juju (goddess). She is the protector of the Pupanunu people and her fall
would have devastating consequences. As the years passed, each shaman was aware
of the prophecy.

The last shaman chosen to lead the tribe was Jibolba. He was chosen over
Tlaloc. Tlaloc didn’t take his election defeat too well. He vowed and plotted
his revenge. Meanwhile Jibolba trained a young warrior to prepare to defend the
moon juju, but alas, the evil powers of Tlaloc proved too much and Lok, like
most of the rest of the tribe, was turned into a sheep.

The magical Moonstones have been stolen and only two members of the Pupanunu
tribe remain un-woolly – a young shaman’s apprentice named Tak and Jibolba.

Tak and the Power of Juju is a GameBoy Advance side-scrolling adventure from
THQ, Nick Games and Helixe. It is a game that is not much different than the
other arcade style games, but this is a game that is wonderfully rendered and
has a solid soundtrack.

The game is actually a forerunner to an animated series on Nickelodeon and
that company had a lot to say about the script and character design. While the
gameplay varies dramatically from other console, and is two-dimensional, the
look of the game carries the theme very well.

It all begins simply enough. Jibolba asks Tak to get Lok, the warrior who was
to defend the Moonstones. As a juju summoned by Jibolba, you are asked to help
guide Tak. The first task is to work through the jungle, tossing sheep aside
until you come to Lok. Jibolba does not know that Lok will be supplying the
makings for a winter sweater, not recovering Moonstones. To that end, Tak must
leap over nasty weeds on the path, avoid small mobs, climb vines, crawl past
buzzing bees and make it through to Lok.

The game contains 38 levels of play and the puzzles are relatively
simplistic, and the controls have been set up to facilitate ease of use.

There is a juju named Flora that pops up from time to time to offer
suggestions, but this is not a common occurrence.

The gameplay is really standard stuff for the type of arcade format. Tak
features a horizontal scroll with occasional reason to climb a vine to reach the
path that seemingly deadends in front of you. In this regard the title offers
nothing new to experienced gamers. Along the way, Tak can control animals and
gain a spirit rattle for use in his adventures. He can also don a chicken
disguise when the situation arises to do so.

The animation of this title is very good but on a par with some of the better
titles available. The worlds are lush and richly textured, and there are
powerups along the path.

Sound-wise, Tak features a variety of music that is a slight departure from
the generic midi musical score that most of these titles feature. The soundtrack
actually does have some life to it.

All in all, Tak and the Power of Juju is a solid GBA title. It won’t set the
world on fire with innovative game play or never-seen-before graphical elements.
The power of this game lays in the enjoyable story and its rich display. Gamers
who enjoy side-scrolling titles should like this. If you are looking for a game
that has a little more oomph to it, then bypass the GBA version and head
straight to the other console versions. They have more wit, better graphics and
more immersion than this does.

Gameplay: 7
This could really be any game of a similar nature. While the story line and
characters are based on a future animated title, the actually game play of this
is very standard.

Graphics: 7.5
The game has solid animation and lush levels. But again, this is typical of a
title that is part of a licensed product. The only thing unique is that the
Nickelodeon animated series has not come into being yet.

Sound: 7.5
This actually features some musical scores that are a departure from the normal
sound featured in this genre. It is definitely better than what is usually here.

Difficulty: Easy
Unfortunately the most difficult part of this game is deciding what obnoxious
weeds are part of the background and which can pose health damage to Tak. This
game generally treads the same generic ground that other side-scrollers have.

Concept: 7
There is not too much that is innovative or unusual here. Playing the game, one
will get the feeling of having done this all before, and likely you have – in
countless other titles.

Overall: 7
Well done, but typical of the genre.