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Tak: Mojo Mistake

Score: 80%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Altron
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Platformer (2D)/ Action/ Arcade

Graphics & Sound:

The DS is starting to impress me in the graphics department. While most games don't blow you away, some come around and remind you that this little handheld is no slouch. THQ's Tak: Mojo Mistake is one such game. This pint-sized Tak game looks great, with all of its side-scrolling splendor. The environments are very reminiscent of old-school platforming games, but look even better.

The character models also look great, even on the small screen. Tak and his fellow tribal members have a lot of character in both design and in their animations. Whether fighting off Woodies (one of the bad guy types - gotta love their names!) or roaming through the village of Friendlies, the animation sets come through with flying colors.

The sounds of Tak: Mojo Mistake also work your eardrums with great pleasure. The sound fx and music do the game great justice by allowing for a combined pleasant audio/visual experience. It is unfortunate that the game doesn't contain voiceovers for the dialogue, however, because that would have added a whole other dimension to the game. As is, you will have to do a lot of reading, but the talks you'll have with NPCs are usually relatively short. In-game sounds don't distract whatsoever, and again, remind me of past days playing this genre of game.


Gameplay:

Tak: Mojo Mistake brings back a nostalgia in its gameplay because it plays exactly like old-school platformers in almost every way, but it then throws in some modern-day game mechanics to make this one solid 2D platformer. Aside from jumping level to level and taking on baddies with your Breeze Branch (or other handheld weapons), Mojo Mistake will also have you working your mojo with different power-ups to increase your weapon power and magic abilities.

While you will also be collecting feathers scattered throughout each area in standard platformer goodness, collecting the other miscellaneous items is worth their weight in gold. Destroying rocks is just one way to unearth these specialties, and they are all used via the DS's touch screen to add more oomph to your weapon, create magic, or store your items for future use (you can only hold a limited amount of items), all within the Alchemy Lab at your home site.

Another major difference between this title and those of the past is that throughout Mojo Mistake, Tak will actually return to the same areas over and over because this 2D Tak is more mission- or quest-based, versus being more level-based. I have mixed feelings about this type of gameplay because there is always a part of me that feels cheated out of better level design. Mojo Mistake will essentially have Tak talking with friendly NPCs to obtain his next quest, but he doesn't necessarily have to take that quest immediately and can choose from these available missions at any time. The missions, however, are relatively short in nature, which is another disappointment.

Tak: Mojo Mistake also lacks any type of multiplayer, which for a game of this type, would have been a bonus. The inclusion of mini-game type gameplay would make for an easy transition into multiplayer. However, the only multi-cartridge bonus you get with Mojo Mistake is in the ability to share items that you've obtained with other gamers that have this Tak title.


Difficulty:

Tak: Mojo Mistake really isn't all that difficult. You may encounter some baddies where you will have to take a moment to learn their patterns or find out what kind of attack they will attempt on you, but the overall difficulty of the game isn't anything to worry about. In fact, Mojo Mistake is a bit on the easy side, unfortunately, but it will likely be perfect for mid-aged and younger gamers.

Even the alchemy system is set up to be too easy. Instead of having to learn or figure out combinations of special items used in powering up, you are shown exactly what you need to combine items and the amounts of those items needed for proper proportions. In fact, you really don't have to do anything to combine them either - no dragging of items, no mixing of anything - just press a button to accept the mixtures. You can try to combine items at any time, but the gain isn't anything noticeable (if at all). If you fail to make a correct combination (which happens most of the time), you are presented with a chicken... hilarious the first time, but annoying after a while.

Essentially, Tak: Mojo Mistake ends up bordering on a button-masher of sorts, as the bad guys tend to come in waves. For those wanting to explore a bit, a word of warning: any time you leave one screen and come back, the baddies return. Because of this, any mission that happens to require defeating all evildoers can get very long if you're not careful.


Game Mechanics:

The controls of Tak: Mojo Mistake are easy as pie. Using the face buttons on the DS, you will be able to jump and attack, and control will be done via the D-pad, so you are not forced to control your character with the stylus, which, in my opinion, is a great thing. This type of control keeps with the style of old-school 2D platforming titles. A cool addition, when you get used to using it, is that the touch screen becomes a helpful navigation tool. On the screen, you can use your stylus (or finger, as it works just as well) to move the play screen around a bit, allowing Tak to see further upward, down below him, or to the sides. This convenience helps greatly, especially when you don't know if there will be a platform below you to drop down to, preventing needless death, or to find all of the baddies that may not be readily visible. The touch screen also allows for mixing and matching of all of the alchemy items that you will obtain, and also allows you to combine those items into power-ups.

All of these small additions to the typical 2D platformer experience make Tak: Mojo Mistake a very competitive and entertaining game for both new gamers and those looking to reminisce a little back to the days of old when all games played with this style. The alchemy strategies of combining certain objects together add another dimension to the experience as well, but since the combinations are essentially given to you, it makes for an easy addition to the game. Unfortunately, this 2D version of the popular Tak franchise doesn't offer a whole lot of different levels, as you will end up revisiting the same areas multiple times because this platformer is more mission-based. When all is said and done, however, Tak: Mojo Mistake is a worthy title that fans of the series and fans of platformers in general should be willing to check out.


-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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