Tak and the Guardians of Gross Wii
Published by: Play THQ
Developed by: Blitz Games Limited
Release Date: Out Now
Tak and the Guardians of Gross is one of those games that starts off quite well but falls into the trap of becoming highly repetitive. Tak has been asked to clean the Spoiled Shrine and things initially go as planned. Tak decides to show off by using his magic to raise a giant crystal. Unbeknown to Tak the crystal was acting as a giant stopper, holding back the four great Big Grosstrocities. With the crystal stopper removed, the Big Grosstrocities escape and begin to wreak havoc on a unprecedented scale. It's up to Tak to stop the Big G's before it's too late.
I suppose if you had to pigeonhole Tak and the Guardians of Gross into a genre, you would say it's an action platform game and with this being a Wii game there's a the customary collection of mini-games thrown in for good measure. The modes on offer are Story Mode, Challenge Mode and Mini-Games. Story Mode is the heart of the game and the other modes aren't worth your time until you've played through a substantial portion of the Story Mode. Challenge Mode allows you to replay the various chapters in the Story Mode and Mini-Games allows you to play the mini-games you'll encounter (and they remain locked until you've encountered them in the Story Mode).
With the platform game aspects of the game you'd be forgiven for occasionally thinking it's trying to be a Prince of Persia title. All of the usual jumps and double jumps scenarios are here. Wall running has been included as has wall-to-wall jumping. Edge climbing is present and correct too and you'll come across plenty of large walls that have grooves in them where you'll have to jump up and down the ledges in order to make your way across the face of the wall. Tak will also get to grind rails, wall scramble and use zip lines amongst other things. The platform game elements are actually pretty solid. My only concern with them is that some of the double jumps were unforgiving but other than that there were no problems.
The combat in the game is dull and repetitive. Early in the game you learn to vault over your enemy and hit them from behind. It's a tactic you're going to use again and again because it's just so effective. You do have other options however. When Tak's Juju Nova power bar is full you can use his Juju Nova power which can wipe out all of the enemies within a certain radius. To fill the Juju Nova power bar, you'll need to collect the red and blue Juju orbs. You can't help but collect the blue Juju orbs as they act as a marker for the path you must take. Some may be irked by this blue breadcrumb trail that leads you through the game but it's a move that was probably made to ensure younger gamers (which is the target audience for this game) don't get frustrated by not knowing which way to go. In addition to the standard combat and magic abilities, there are chase levels which require you to fire at various targets with the Fire Magic Staff. These play out like an arcade shooter and they are quite enjoyable thanks to a comfortable control scheme and easy aiming with the Wii remote.
During the course of the game there are other magic abilities to acquire. In order to check your progress, you'll have to earn these additional abilities by winning mini-games. Whilst I don't mind mini-games as such, I do think that they shouldn't be forced into a game just for the sake of it. In truth they feel out of place in Tak and the Guardians of Gross. I can see younger gamers becoming frustrated by them and they really stop the flow of the game. Of course older children and adults probably wouldn't have any problems with them but they are not going to be interested in the game to begin with.
The game's presentation is quite good. The graphics are good enough and the frame rate and load times are as good as could be expected. The game is subtitled and you'll be able to follow the storyline. Occasionally it's a little tricky to follow who is saying what because there are no character names or portraits placed alongside the text but for the most part there are no problems. All tutorial messages are shown in text. You can disable them if you want to which is a good thing as they keep appearing over and over again.
Tak and the Guardians of Gross is quite enjoyable at times but the repetitive combat and the mini-games help to drag it down into the realms of mediocrity. It's priced at just under £20 and from looking around the various online stores, it can be bought for as low as £14.99 which is certainly a fair price for the game. Had the mini-games not been included it would have been an easy recommendation for younger children but as it stands it's a fair bet that most younger children are going to hand over the controls to an older sibling or their parents when they run into a mini-game and fail to do it after a couple of attempts.