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Tak and the Power of Juju Deserves a Proper Reboot

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Earlier this week, THQ announced a partnership with Nickelodeon to bring some
beloved classic games to modern systems. Many people were quick to notice the 3D platformer Tak and the Power of Juju on that list. If you were growing up in the early 2000s, you likely remember the game from its heavy marketing on Nickelodeon. If you played the game like myself, you’ll remember a quirky adventure game that was full of great voice talents, fun level design, and tons of collectibles.

However, if you were a fan of
Tak, you sadly know how this story ends. After three games in a platforming series that went largely unappreciated, Nickelodeon developed an animated series loosely based on the games. Unfortunately, the television series Tak and the Power of Juju felt like a reboot more than anything. Characters were completely changed, pointless new characters were added, almost none of the voice actors came back, and the show just couldn’t capture the charm of the games.

This wouldn’t have been a big deal if the games had just continued with the established characters and gameplay. However, the developers at Avalanche Software would not return to the series, as the company was in the process of being acquired by Buena Vista Games, which is now known as Disney Interactive Studios. Avalanche would no longer be allowed to touch the Nickelodeon-owned property.

The fourth
Tak game was handled by Blitz Games, a studio that developed titles like Sneak King and Bratz: The Movie. You can imagine how things went from here. Blitz Games decided to base the new Tak game around the television show instead of the trilogy it was following up. Released in 2008, Tak and the Guardians of Gross is an awful game with bad writing, confusing game mechanics, and no charm whatsoever. In 2009, the cartoon Tak and the Power of Juju was cancelled due to low ratings.

It’s been nearly a decade since anything Tak-related has released. Since the game is now coming to modern consoles, it’s the perfect time for Nickelodeon to gauge interest in the series and give it a proper reboot. There’s plenty to love about the original trilogy that everybody can enjoy in a modern 3D platformer.

Tak and the Power of Juju prides itself with its vast array of characters. Tak meets plenty of Juju spirits along his journey, and it would be great to see some cool new ideas come out. This wide cast of characters includes Dead Juju, a skeleton that is obsessed with partying, Mind-Reader Juju, who has the ability to read minds but is never certain whose mind he is reading, Dinky Juju, an extremely tiny creature that can punt anybody for miles with her magic boots, and many more.

It would be difficult to back up this cast of characters without some decent voices. Thankfully, Avalanche had that covered as well. You’ll recognize some of these actors as Rob Paulsen, Jennifer Hale, Patrick Warburton, and Jason Marsden. This crew helped bring all of these wacky characters to life, including our hero Tak and the villainous Tlaloc.

But this wouldn’t mean anything if the game wasn’t fun to play. Luckily, Tak has plenty of great level design up its sleeve, too. The first game is a simple collect-a-thon in which you search for specific items related to your current quest. The levels are open and non-linear, allowing you to explore each world at your leisure. The second game takes a more linear approach to the story, but it still encourages the player to explore each level before reaching the end. Things take a turn with the third game, which focuses on a co-op element that breaks each level into their own missions.

Each location is fun to explore, and the player is handsomely rewarded for finding the secrets in each world with awesome powerups. These range from abilities that increase Tak’s mobility to special suits that help him get to new places to awesome spells that are used in combat. Each new ability opens up the possibilities a little bit more and makes you want to explore each new area.

When you put all of this together, you end up with a solid 3D platformer. If the property is put in the hands of the right development team, I think
Tak could make a fantastic modern reboot. It was a fantastic series that met its doom way too soon. It’s time for Nickelodeon to give this series a brand new game without the television show tie-ins. Let’s start from the beginning and bring back the things that made Tak great in the first place.

If you haven’t played the game, check out
Tak and the Power of Juju when it launches on modern platforms later this year. To those that already enjoy the game, let’s buy it one more time to relive simpler times and let Nick know that we still care about it.

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Adam Sherrill
Writing is half of my life. Video games make up the other half. I decided to put these two hobbies together and join Gamnesia back in 2015. I spend most of my time working at a retail store and paying off my student debt. When I'm not getting stressed about the thousands of dollars I owe my loan providers, I play tons of video games (which just puts me into more debt). I'm also currently writing a novel in what little spare time I have. It's a story I've been wanting to write for a while, but I don't want to talk about it until I have most of it completed. Any Gamnesia-related inquiries may be sent to [email protected] Feel free to follow my personal Twitter if you want (@Pindlo). I mostly just retweet things.

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