Tak and the Power of Juju GBA
Released: Out Now
Only a short while ago we reviewed Tak and the Power of Juju for PlayStation 2 and it was one of the most deaf gamer unfriendly games we've looked at in a very long time and fully deserved it's lowly rating of 3.5/10. Here we have the Game Boy Advance version of the game and all we can say is what a difference a platform version can make. Unable to rely on speech because of technical limitations of the Game Boy Advance, the game has to use text instead and in the process removes a lot of the problems that the PlayStation 2 version had for deaf gamers.
Tak and the Power of Juju, as you've probably guessed from the title and screen shots, is a game that's squarely aimed at children. The game represents a collaboration between THQ and Nickelodeon, the TV company who specializes in children's cartoons such as the Rugrats. The game's hero is Tak, as you've probably guessed, but this is only because the expected hero, Lok, has been turned into a sheep. The game is set in an ancient tribal world and all was fine until the evil Tlaloc, a power hungry shaman stole the moonstones that protected the people from evil Juju. With the moonstones now gone the Moon Juju, a tribal goddess, is defenseless (as the moonstones gave her power) to help the people. To add further insult to injury Tlaloc has turned most of the villagers into sheep. Help is at hand though and a good shaman, Jibolba, has instructed his apprentice, Tak, to try and sort the situation out.
Tak and the Power of Juju on the Game Boy Advance is a side-scrolling platform game and to be honest it's all the better for it. The game is set over 38 levels spread over 8 different worlds. It's all pretty much standard stuff with a few boss fights thrown in. Tak has just two weapons at his disposal, a staff (once acquired you'll mainly stick to using this as it's far more powerful) and a blowgun for ranged attacks. To begin with Tak can't take out his enemies with his weapons and he'll have to make use of objects such as beehives to get rid of the enemies (by firing his blowgun at the beehives the bees will become agitated and leave the hive to attack whoever is near). Tak also has to rescue the sheep, which are actually transformed villagers, that he'll find in each level. There seems to be a great deal of variation in the difficulty of the levels though and whilst some are too easy others are quite difficult and it's not a progressive thing as some of the earlier levels are difficult whilst some of the later ones are very easy.
Graphically Tak and the Power of Juju is actually quite good and the game has a pleasant look about it. The characters are quite large and are easy on the eyes. It's not the best looking game on the GBA though and definitely not in the Golden Sun class but it's easily on a par with most GBA games. Some of the obstacles that need to jumped such as the thorny bushes that you'll encounter, can be a little tricky to make out at times because they don't always stand out enough but aside from that there is little to fault with the general look of the game.
As we said in the introduction the PlayStation 2 version was simply hideous for deaf gamers but the Game Boy Advance version is another matter entirely. Everything is now in text, the story, the tutorial messages etc., so you'll have no problems at all in following the games story and understanding what has to be done. We are often asked which platform we think is best for deaf gamers and our answer is always the Game Boy Advance because all details are almost always given in text because of the technical limitations of the platform. I hope this stays true for further Game Boy consoles but I have a niggling fear that as they become more technologically advanced then speech will replace the text.
Tak and the Power of Juju is a lot better for deaf gamers on the Game Boy Advance. The main problem is that as a side-scrolling platformer on the Game Boy Advance it's in very illustrious company and to be truthful is overshadowed by a lot of the better ones on the handheld console such as Metroid, Super Mario, Crash Bandicoot and even the lesser known Klonoa Empire of Dreams. Still if you want to experience a Tak and the Power of Juju game then the Game Boy Advance version is the one to go for.
Game Rating: 6.5/10
A lot better for deaf gamers than the PlayStation 2 version but there are many better platform games on the Game Boy Advance to choose from.