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Tak: The Great Juju Challenge

Jungle hero Tak returns for another platform romp, but tedious co-op means this one's more sink than swing

Tak is a hero now. He has defeated evil and saved the land. You would think he'd relax a bit, abuse his hero status and make fit Pupanunu girls fan him with giant leaves and feed him grapes. But no. He clearly is as much of a dork as he looks.

There's no arch nemesis for Tak to hit with his little stick anymore. So Tak enters the Juju Challenge, in which he has to go up against the best warriors of other tribes to complete a series of obstacle courses and puzzles within a time limit. These obstacle courses basically translate as large platform-filled levels, rather like the ones in Tak 2. Nothing out of the ordinary, then.

Zoom

But wait - the difference this time around is that Tak isn't working alone. He teams up with the half-wit hero, Lok, who tags along every step of the way. Surprise, surprise: both characters have differing abilities, making for the need to swap control from one to the other in order to get through the 'all-new' co-op obstacles. The thing is we can't decide whether this makes the game more enjoyable, or just a hell of a lot more tedious.

Lok is bigger and stronger, so he's better for bits where you need to lift stuff, like explosive barrels. He can also pick up and throw Tak to higher platforms. Right, that makes sense. But Lok can't swim because he's... scared of fish? That's funny, but lame. So you use Tak to swim (who's smaller and would be more vulnerable to aquatic predators). But Tak can't climb vine-covered walls. WHY THE HELL NOT? He's a little bush-boy. He looks like he's Mowgli's cousin. Mowgli can climb like a monkey ninja. We've seen him do it on the telly. So you have to use Lok, who we'd have billed as the heavier, less agile character. Having to swap for basic things like swimming, climbing and jumping high is a pain in the ass. Not fun.

The co-op aspect is used to better effect on other occasions. You walk into a room with a series of platforms, but they're too far apart to jump across. You discover some switches
that raise stepping stones between them. The idea is that you leave one character to press the switches, while the other jumps across the stones to the far side. As we did all this, we asked ourselves: is this fun? It's not bad in two-player split-screen co-op, where each player takes half the strain. It can be done quicker that way. But it's not as cool as the animal puzzles that have always been in Tak games since the beginning of the franchise.

Oh well. At least you get to dress in that wicked chicken suit again, and a new lobster suit, too. The cut-scenes made us laugh, too. Lok is a total buffoon and he'll crack you up. But he doesn't make this more than another average, slightly tedious platformer.

The verdict

As funny and as colourful as ever, but tedious and repetitive puzzles keep Tak stuck in the league of the mediocre.

7
Format
Xbox
Developer
Avalanche Software
Publisher
THQ
Genre
Adventure, Action

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