Tak: The Great Juju Challenge is the third game in the series. While Tak's latest adventure is still undeniably a well made children's game, it suffers from a few problems that will irritate anyone looking for a simple, fun platformer. Thankfully, all the charm and humour from previous games in the series remains, lifting the overall quality above that of a traditional kid's title.
As you might have gathered from the game's title, this third game in the Tak series centres on the Great Juju Challenge - a tournament that takes place every sixty years where teams of two compete to win the favour of the Moon Juju goddess. It just so happens that Tak is entering the challenge, paired with the larger and funnier Lok. Over the course of the game you'll be competing with three other teams, and the story that accompanies the gameplay is perhaps the game's most impressive feature.
Even though the game has been designed for kids, I couldn't help but smirk on a number of occasions, with Lok frequently delivering some great one-liners. The cutscenes also feature plenty of visual comedy, with all the characters displaying plenty of emotion to carry the jokes. It's a shame then that the actual gameplay falls a way short of matching the impressively high quality story.
The big change over previous games is the focus on co-op gameplay. Tak and Lok are both playable characters, with the solo player needing to switch between them regularly in order to get past obstacles and complete numerous puzzles. This works well enough, but does feel a little disjointed. The other option is to play with a friend (who can hop into the game at any time) and take control of one character each, using a split-screen view. This makes the game flow far better, but on occasion one player will be left waiting while the other is performing a task that's required to move on.
Tak and Lok look very different and their moves reflect this. Tak is faster, can swim, and has a way with magic, while Lok can pick up and throw things (including Tak) and climb vines. Later in the game both characters earn new abilities through the use of special suits, get upgraded abilities and ride on creatures. Strangely enough, you even take part in a number of vehicular combat arena battles. To get to these battles you must have accrued a certain score in the area. Your score is heavily based on the time you take to finish a level, so you'll often need to go back through levels to rack up more points, using your acquired knowledge to speed through faster.
While the audio in the game is pretty impressive, the visuals look a little drab in comparison. Colours are rather bland and seams are often visible in the environment. The cutscenes also look rather blurry due to some poor compression, and considering they are often the best part of the game, it's a little disappointing. The camera will also cause problems for some people as it can't be customised at all. If you prefer to invert your horizontal and vertical camera controls, you're out of luck.
Tak: The Great Juju Challenge will please fans of the series, particularly when played with a fiend. The co-op nature of the gameplay causes a few problems if tackled alone, and the camera takes some getting used to, but the characters and story are often humorous enough to make persevering worthwhile. It's no classic, but it's certainly a game kids should enjoy.