Mojo! PlayStation 2
Developed by FarSight Studios
Released - Out Now
Price : £19.99
One genre that doesn't get enough attention in my opinion is the puzzle genre. A majority of today's games are not geared to encouraging gamers to think and instead favour quick and fast action. Puzzle games can be fun though. Super Monkey Ball (and it's sequel) proved that puzzle games can be a good laugh and the PC game Neighbours from Hell (and it's sequel) are also examples of puzzle games that can be very humorous. Here we have a game called Mojo! that is the latest puzzle game we've looked at and once again it's been quite an enjoyable experience.
You might think when you first play Mojo that it's the PlayStation 2 equivalent of Super Monkey Ball but aside from the fact that you manoeuvring a ball it has little in common. In Super Monkey Ball the aim was to guide your ball (that encased your chosen monkey) from the start point to the goal and overcome any obstacles in the way. Mojo! requires that you wipeout the blocks contained within a stage. This may see easy and initially it is but before long it get's frustratingly difficult and completing all the available levels is going to take a very long time.
Mojo contains a single player game with 100 stages for you to play through. The first stage begins with you simply rolling a red ball down a path and destroying, by rolling into them, the red blocks. Soon enough you'll have different colour blocks to destroy too. To change the colour of your ball you'll have to find the correct infuser which will change your ball's colour (the blue infuser will change the ball to blue etc.). You'll need a blue ball to take out the blue blocks, yellow ball for yellow blocks, green ball for green blocks and so on. Once you've taken out all the coloured blocks in a stage you can collect the ice blocks to boost your mojo (more on that in a moment). You'll also have to collect keys with which to unlock the locks in a stage. These are usually collected by using the yellow infuser first. As well as the single player game you also have a 2-4 player battle mode, a stage editor and a 1-4 player golf game. We didn't get to look at the golf game because you have to complete the single player game to unlock it and sadly we still haven't managed to do that.
Of course rolling a ball around and knocking out blocks would be boring if there wasn't an element of risk. Whilst the blocks you have to destroy are usually on round platforms you'll often have to roll the ball down a narrow, uneven, path to get there. Unlike Super Monkey Ball though you do have greater control of the ball and can stop it at any time which is essential on some of the really narrow paths. You can also speed up the movement of the ball by using turbos although you only have a limited supply of these and using them incorrectly can be very hazardous. You have no lives in Mojo but you do have mojo. In the lower left of the screen you'll have a mojo gauge which can be filled by collecting the mojo from the ice blocks in a stage after you've taken out all the coloured blocks. You'll also have bonus stages which allow you to top up your mojo meter. Should you fall of the edge then the ball will regenerate but it will cost you mojo. Should the mojo gauge completely empty then it's game over. Thankfully you can save your progress at any time, so when you return to the game after a break you'll only have to redo the last level you were on and not have to return to stage one all of the time.
Graphically Mojo! looks OK but the nature of the game doesn't really call for it to be anything other. There is only so much detail you have for coloured blocks and balls and what detail is here is all that is needed. You can manipulate the camera by moving the right analogue stick and you can even zoom in and out using the L1 and R1 buttons although the usefulness of doing this is debatable.
There isn't anything for deaf gamers to worry about with Mojo! All tutorial messages are shown in text and there is no speech in the game. On one of the earlier stages you get a message saying that once you've cleared the red and blue blocks you'll hear an ice sound that tells you that you can then clear the ice blocks. Whilst this does happen it's rather pointless because once the coloured blocks have been cleared, in any level, you can then clear the ice blocks so there are no problems.
So all things considered then Mojo! isn't bad at all and is quite enjoyable. If you've played Super Monkey Ball on the GameCube you'll notice that the analogue sticks of the PlayStation 2 controller are not as accurate as those on the GameCube controller and maybe this is why a brake feature has been included in order to compensate for the lack of precision. I was disappointed to find that the game sells for only $10 in the US as with the current exchange rate that makes it practically four times as much here in the UK, which simply isn't on. We all know that here in Europe games are more expensive but such a difference is a bit disheartening to say the least. Essentially then we have a good puzzle game here but it's a shame we are paying a lot more for it than they do in the US.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
An enjoyable 3D puzzle game but why is there such a price difference between the UK version and the US version?
No problems at all for deaf gamers.