Tak: The Great JuJu Challenge

a game by WayForward Technologies

Platforms: DSGBA

Genre: Racing

While it can be said of most games in a series that it helps to have played the one prior, most games have an overview or some sort of back story to get you up to speed. However, in Tak: The Great JuJu Challenge, the programmers don't seem to think that this is a good idea. Assuming that you have no prior Tak playing experience, you will for lack of better words, be very, very confused and/or completely lost as to what the devil you are doing.

In the Great JuJu Challenge, you play as team Pupanunu (both Tak and Lok) your tribe's best hope of winning the JuJu challenge against the other tribes you are competing against. The challenge essentially is different levels of cart racing, climbing, swimming and jumping around while activating switches to further you advancement. You also beat the crap out of the local wildlife but that goes without saying in the life of a caveman. The whole concept of the challenge isn't fully explained and I had a very un-engaging experience as characters came and went and the game just assumed that I would know what and who they were. I know there is a Tak TV show on Nickelodeon, maybe I need to watch a couple of episodes to figure out what is going on.

Since both Tak and Lok have abilities only they can use, you must switch between them on the fly. This is done by merely touching the bottom touch screen and voila' the switch is on. For example, Tak can swim so when there is water you must play as him, but only Lok can climb up walls, so there you go. And yes, while there isn't much challenge in figuring out who is up to what task, there are some unique puzzles that do pop up that I found to be refreshing and cleverly thought out.

More so, the game features a leveling up section where you can increase the effectiveness of Tak and Lok's skills (the racing cart too) but it is an absolute mess of a design. Nowhere does the game show you how this leveling up system works nor when you do manage to ramp up an ability, is it really apparent that you improved said ability.

The graphic design of the levels was somewhat surprising as THQ took full advantage of the DS's rendering power. Levels were quite large and some good depth to them. Enemies would appear as you ran but I guess you can't have it all. Still the graphics were pretty decent and while there is a little bit of breakdown in the walls, it comes across as ample.

By far the best section of the game, were the mini-games that you can find and unlock. If they had devoted an entire game to these mini-games, you would find yourself having a darn fine time, to the tune of a 'Must Have'?, instead it is merely a refreshing little slice of heaven in an otherwise average game.

I rated this one a 'Fans Only'? because quite frankly you need to be a fan of the games or the TV show merely to know what is going on. And because this simply isn't the kind of game you can casually pick and play every once in a while.

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