Tak 2 The Staff of Dreams Review

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Graphics: 7.0
Sound : 7.0
Gameplay : 6.5
Multiplayer : 7.0
Overall : 6.9
Review by Andy Levine
Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams takes you on the journey of a young Pupanunu warrior on a quest to rescue a damsel in distress. This sequel to last year’s Tak and the Power of Juju, Tak will encounter many Jujus that can offer him special powers vital to his success. However, the game follows a very linear path and is filled with poor level design, taking away from most of the whole adventure aspect. Aimed towards the younger audience, Tak 2 is just another mediocre platformer on the market today.

Tak 2 is filled with an assortment of puzzles and many physical obstacles to overcome, but a poor level design and an overall lack of creativity can make this 10 hour single player campaign seem to last for an eternity. The tutorial level in the dream world introduces you to the story as newcomers to the series will learn the control scheme. Tak finds himself on a quest where he must harness the powers of the Staff of Dreams in order to rescue a princess. In order to do this, he must travel in both his dream world and reality, which will be discussed later on. This title contains the basic elements any platformer should have, including an endless amount of pickups. You will be able to collect feathers, gems, crystals, and many other artifacts on your journey, but they don’t play much of a role in the game. While collecting different gems allows you to mix Juju potions to unlock secrets, the only pickups that are really necessary during the game are health-rejuvenating feathers. Throughout your adventures, you will learn new Juju skills, such as special attack combos that can be used to annihilate anything in your path. The battle system is very weak, though, and even large masses of foes will not pose much of a threat. On the other hand, most of the puzzles require a lot of brain work and good observation skills. The environment is laid out very poorly and your objectives are never really clear, so you will find yourself slamming into many brick walls along the way. The levels were created to deliver a very linear style gameplay, so the whole exploring aspect is immediately thrown out the window. Most of the puzzles will involve an interaction with some type of animal, including bees, bears, boars, and even a cockroach-like insect that can be thrown. Unfortunately, most of the puzzles seen in the beginning levels are the same ones seen throughout the entire game, so as you venture further you will find yourself thinking less and hopping around more. Due to its very linear style and puzzles which lack diversity, Tak 2’s gameplay is simply not able to keep any gamer captivated from start to finish.

Tak is constantly moving from his dream world to reality and back throughout his entire crusade. In his dream world, the environment consists of a vast amount of free-floating land masses and many fantasy creatures. While in his dreams Tak doesn’t gain any special powers, the puzzles in his dreams are very different from the ones he will face in reality. While in his sleep, Tak will have to wipe out enemy parasites and destroy their habitat before a new pathway will be unlocked. As you progress, you will have to perform an assortment of tricks, including driving a catapult-mobile, destroying man-eating serpents, and gliding from platform to platform. Again, the dream world will seem intriguing at first, but after a while it seems like a chore as you attempt to navigate through the scattered field of land masses. In reality, you are set in a rainforest type environment, filled with roaring rivers and vine swinging action. Here, you must utilize the powers of the animals and Jujus in order to reach your destination. The challenges focus more on breaking down walls and rappelling over canyons instead of the monotonous jumping of the dream world. However, the poor level designs in both worlds, along with some terrible camera angles, plague this game with a very difficult navigation system.

Visually, Tak 2 is by no means horrible, but it is nothing worth marveling over either. The simple character models and over usage of brightened colors give this game its cartoon-like feel. Most of the jungles environments are lush and overflowing with wildlife and other natural phenomena. Some of the textures are bland, but nonetheless they still manage to bring out a great feel for the outdoors. The animations are choppy at times, and when the characters move, it looks like the models are moving in space instead of interacting with the environment. The special effects, most of which are seen when picking up random objects, all have the same plasma look to them, which isn’t at all bad, but it would have been nice to have some variety. Some of the major graphical issues include constantly changing camera angles and frequent frame rate drops. If the bugs were worked out and if the overall environment really came to life, Tak 2 would have presented itself as a much more visually attractive game.

Regarding the audio performance, Tak 2 falls into the mediocre category once again. The voice actors try to be funny, but only the younger crowd or people who enjoy stupid humor will get a kick out of this. Sound effects from attacks and spells are dull and usually go unnoticed under Tak’s battle cries. The background music has a soothing tribal feel to it, which happens to go very nicely with the tone of the game. However, the rest of the sound is low quality and will not appeal to anyone looking to break in their new sound system.

A separate multiplayer mode is available titled Dinky Games, which is simply an assortment of random mini-games. You have the option of selecting your favorite characters as you play against the computer or several of your friends. Besides an impressive snowboarding game that allows you to perform all sorts of stunts, the remainder of the mini-games are not very entertaining. If you have some time to kill and are looking for some mindless fun, the Dinky Games can offer a very limited amount of it.

In conclusion, Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams is one of many mediocre platformer games available today. If you are looking for an in-depth captivating experience, then there are certainly better games on the market to fit your needs. Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams will by no means blow you out of the water, but if you want to try out a contradistinctive platformer, then look no further.