Reviewed: October 16, 2005
Released: September 19, 2005
Tak, Lok, and Jibolba are back once again in Tak: The Great Juju Challenge, another lovable platformer from Avalanche Software. This time around thereís a competition to win. You see, once each generation, the worldís mightiest heroes, fiercest warriors, and most powerful athletes gather together to compete in The Great Juju Challenge.
You will play as both Tak and Lok in side-by-side cooperative multiplayer action or go solo in the fight for the championship. On your way to the finish youíll learn many new Juju abilities and combo moves while navigating through the cleaver puzzles in each level. Unleash your inner chicken with the return of Takís chicken suit and get ready for the most entertaining co-op game this year. Remember, the future of the Pupanunu people is in your hands. On your mark, get set, Juju!!
Overall, Takís platform gameplay mechanics remain the same as the previous titles. You learn many new Juju powers and are able to perform more combo moves. Thatís all expected, but the new addition here is the gameís heavy emphasis on cooperative gameplay. This gameís all about co-op, which makes it more difficult to play solo. However, it also creates some fun new gameplay aspects.
For example, there are certain enemies in the game that have two jewels on their bodies. You must use Tak to break the lower jewel and Lok to break the top jewel in order to defeat the enemy. Another example is how one character must stand on a switch to allow the other to cross a deep chasm. The puzzles and cooperative experiences get more challenging and build upon themselves creating for some very fun experiences.
Like the title says, The Great Juju Challenge is a competition. Itís different in the sense that this competition isnít a race or battle, itís both. Tak and Lok must work together through each world. These worlds consist of three sublevels that are just like any of the regular Tak levels we have all become accustomed to except for the fact that they are specially designed for team work and everything you do accounts for your total score when you finish the level.
The scores are based on time, items collected (woo-woo crystals, zoo-zoo insects, and juju fruit), and enemies defeated. Throughout the level there are time bonuses that you can find and huge staffs that you must touch in order to continue on. These staffs add to your time, open up areas that allow you to proceed, and act as checkpoints. They are placed throughout each level and youíll be looking for them at every turn.
Another thing to keep an eye out for are side-quests scattered throughout the many worlds. They are beneficial in that they can help Tak and Lok improve their overall score and gain bonuses. The bonus is generally a recipe card which can be used to upgrade your health, increase your Juju, or make Tak and Lokís respective attacks stronger.
Not only that, but I found the side-quests to be a fun addition to the game with many different types of challenges to conquer. One will have you hitting chickens off ledges while another will have you swinging down vines to the finish. Thankfully, doing these quests isnít required, but I would recommend doing them. Each side-quest is well crafted and a big bonus to the overall game.
Saving is still as easy as ever. You can save at any point at any time in the game (the way all games should be). Thankfully I havenít come across any of the major glitches that plagued Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams. The game hasnít frozen up once and you arenít required to beat enemies in a certain order for things to happen. Avalanche Software definitely listened and corrected all of those problems the previous game had.
Tak reminds me of Rayman 3ís graphical style. Others might be reminded of the movie ďFern Gully: The Last RainforestĒ early on. The character models in Tak are excellent. They are smooth, polished, and lack jagged edges. Not once did I notice any jagged edges in any aspect of the game. Tak is clean cut with lush, colorful levels to explore. Players will definitely enjoy these new levels and the underwater sequences that take place. The level designs are still pretty similar to past games, but thereís definitely more variety to the bunch.
The water in this game wonít blow you away like that of Tak 2ís. Unfortunately there isnít a big emphasis on white water barrel rides like the last game. The water is still good, but nothing like Iíve become accustomed to. Lok canít even get in the water because "fish hate him". This makes for some interesting challenges.
Tak gives you total control over the camera even though the auto camera works pretty well. It doesnít seem as good as the last game, but I think it has something to do with the constant turning around thatís required to help your partner (Lok, Tak, or both).
Nothing has changed in the way of sound. The first thing you will still notice before playing Tak is the phenomenal voice acting. This is grade ďAĒ acting and it really adds to the personalities of each character. Voice acting this good should be standard for all games.
Tak features a colorful score that changes each time you enter a new area. You will hear that same tune looped over and over. Oddly enough the music never gets repetitive. Itís very important in the game and is flawlessly matched to fit each level. Furthermore, all the general sound effects are in place as you would expect, and the new characters really add to games personality.
To sum it up, Tak has tremendous voice acting and excellent story presentation which is what makes this series great. The only thing lacking is Dolby Pro-Logic II support and more background music.
With the addition of cooperative play, Tak has become more entertaining than ever before. Now you can enjoy playing with a friend throughout the whole game and competing for the number one ranking. Unlike Tak 2, this game doesnít feature any multiplayer aspect other than the co-op mode. The good news is that last yearís multiplayer mode felt forced into the game to give it more replay value, and in reality, didnít add a thing.
Playing with a friend through Tak: The Great Juju Challenge is extremely fun. There are a lot of worlds and levels to play in, side-quests to complete, and destruction derbies to compete in. Often times youíll go back and replay levels to improve your overall score and to keep the top ranking. The downside is that the game is very short, clocking in about 15 hours of gameplay, even when you replay levels multiple times.
However, the hilarious story and fun co-op gameplay will have you playing this game with all of your friends. And if you donít have time to play, you can always show your buddies the in-game movies and concept artwork that youíve collected.
Tak: The Great Juju Challenge is an extremely fun platformer with the best cooperative gameplay Iíve seen all year. All the glitches have been eliminated for yet another hilarious, family friendly addition to the Tak series. With its beautifully animated characters, lush environments, and overall artistic game design, Tak and Lok are poised to fight for the championship in The Great Juju Challenge.