Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom Review
Developer: Game Republic
Publisher: Namco Bandai
Available on: Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 (Xbox 360 version reviewed)
Childhood friendly monster characters. We’ve seen them in the movies, TV and in the world of gaming. With the likes of Ludo from the film Labyrinth, Falkor the luckdragon from the Never Ending Story or Cait Sith in Final Fantasy VII (even though he was a spy…git). We’ve all grown up with them and wished we had one by our side during our youth. Even though the majority of us have now aged and we might not openly admit it, we all still have a place for them in our hearts.
Now we have a new addition to the gaming world, with regards to these beasts of course. He goes by the name of Teoti and is the star of the Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom. Developed by Game Republic (Genji: Days of the Blade and Dragon Ball: Origins), is this new title one that is sure to please kids and bring back childhood memories or have the monsters come to destroy our childhoods? Read on to find out!
STORY: The story is set in a once prosperous and fruitful kingdom, with the citizens dependent on machines to make their lives easier. Then one day, the kingdom is overtaken by a mysterious darkness and thrown into chaos and disarray. Whilst many citizens attempted to explore and find out what was happening to their beloved kingdom, they were never to be seen again, consumed in the darkness along with many of its animals. To cleanse this forsaken kingdom of the darkness, a young un-named thief (whom later is named by the Majin as Tepeu), an orphan who was brought up by the kingdoms wildlife in a remote forest far away from the darkness’ reach and, in turn, can understand the animals when they speak. Together they set out to free the mythical legend know as the Majin – an all-powerful mystical beast and guardian of the kingdom, to reclaim its power, eradicate the darkness and restore the land to its former glory.
The main characters are believable enough for a fantasy title. Tepeu is the young thief/adventurer who is the catalyst for the following events and is determined to rid the kingdom of the darkness. The Mythical Majin, who’s named Teoti, is a great big lovable cuddly oaf who, even though he is a monster, has a warm and kindness about him that everyone would take a shining towards.
The story is quite gripping and interesting to go through. There is a fair bit of background to the characters and as you progress through the game, you get flashbacks as to how the kingdom became engulfed in the darkness. These flashbacks could be compared to the TV series Lost, though thankfully won’t drag out for years and leave many unanswered questions! The ending is good and emotional, leaving things open for a sequel but in this humble reviewers opinion, it ended a little abruptly and could’ve been a set up slightly better to make you want the sequel a bit more, should one ever arise. However, if you like a good fantasy story, then this is a title that you or your kids may wish to take a look at.
GRAPHICS: Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a very beautiful looking game. You can tell the developers put a fair bit of effort and detail into the landscapes, with beautiful, lush forests, ruined cities and desert canyons. It is a nice place to be, especially considering that evil is lurking around every corner. The human character graphics are well put together also, though the developers have gone for the animated look as opposed to the real life look. Tepeu kind of looks like Disney’s take on Aladdin, but with a crap haircut. Teoti’s graphical look is also very nice. Well, for a monster anyway. The best way to describe him is a massive bear with a garden growing on his back and in desperate need of a dentist. He looks very cute, but possibly too cute for his mannerisms. The only thing that the developers have done to make him look even remotely menacing is to make him huge, give him yellow eyes and a pair of horns.
Another graphical feature is the transitions between day and night. As you would expect it is nice and bright during the day, with the sunrises and sunset looking very impressive. When you get to night time it can get a bit too dark in places, so you need to bang your TV’s brightness up a fair bit to see anything. This will also make some of the puzzles a little more difficult to solve as you can’t see the necessary switch/lever, making it a bit of an encumbrance.
SOUND: The sound design in the game is also very nice. The music definitely accompanies the game suitably, with a well composed orchestral score and a nice smattering of oriental music mixed in to give it the game an authentic fantasy feel. The character sounds are as they should be, though the enemies probably should sound more evil, as they pretty much sound like a combination of a really angry Donald Duck and an angry cat. However, when you make Teoti roar it is quite epic and makes you feel that you are about to do some serious damage to the hordes of darkness.
The only annoying thing to the sound, is the animals you meet along your way. When you make Tepeu talk to them, they sound a little too like Disney characters that sometimes are a bit too over acted and also state the obvious a little too much.
GAMEPLAY: The concept of the gameplay is essentially based around teamwork. You control Tepeu as the explorer (looking for treasure, finding power ups for Teoti and flicking switches) and also you command Teoti, who is the the muscle. Obviously, Teoti is very big and strong so he can open massive doors and levers that are to big for Tepeu, as well as operating catapults. This gives you some interesting and fun puzzles to solve, ranging from fairly easy to quite taxing. Though as mentioned earlier, when night time falls you may find it harder to solve the puzzles. The developers do their best to keep the ideas fresh so it doesn’t get repetitive, though it would’ve been interesting if they expanded the existing puzzles and gave them a new twist.
The fighting mechanic also uses the teamwork concept. Teoti will also dish out the majority of the pain to the enemies you will encounter, with Tepeu helping out by setting an enemy up for a massive punch or stomp. Then when your enemy is down and ready to be finished off, a simple press of the B button will then activate a team finishing move. Also as you go on, Teoti will retrieve his lost magic powers by eating special types of fruit. These powers are, Wind, Lightning, Fire and Purification. When you activate a magic power it will allow you to vanquish enemies quicker, by stunning them and allowing Tepeu to initiate the magic with his own weapon and set them up for a team finishing move.
As you eliminate enemies, they drop 2 types of orbs and as you collect them they add or increase abilities. Blue orbs increase Tepeu’s strength and stamina and red ones increase your friendship status with Teoti, which leads to new team finishing moves. To power up Teoti you must find fruits scattered around the kingdom. You use Tepeu to find the little fruits to boost Teoti’s strength, stamina and magical power, but to actually gain these powers you have to lead Teoti to them and you surprisingly gain a nice bit of satisfaction when you feed the hungry fella.
The fighting mechanic itself is pretty good and makes for some cool fights, though sometimes the camera can be a little offputting which in turn can make it difficult to see what you’re hitting. Also if you get stuck in a corner, it can sometimes be difficult to get out. The enemy AI is well designed, though they are a little too fast sometimes and are quite adept at dodging so keep your wits about you and be prepared to dodge!
The only main problem with the gameplay is getting around with Tepeu and Teoti’s AI. When running around with Tepeu, jumping can be a little awkward as when you go to jump from one platform to another, if you get to close to the ledge the falling animation can kick in a little too early and that can be quite infuriating. Also, when grabbing ledges to climb up, sometimes he won’t grab it so you’ll find yourself jumping up and down like an idiot. With regards to Teoti’s AI, he is what you would expect, a bit stupid. When you’re in a fight and you want him to do something, he will sometimes not do anything at all and just stand there like a lemon taking damage. If you instruct him to come over to you so you can heal each other up, he will go to follow you then all of a sudden turn around for no reason and head back to the battle, even though you managed to get away. This doesn’t happen all the time, but when it does it will annoy you.
LONGEVITY: Majin will take you approximately 12 hours to complete once you have all of the major powers for Teoti and go for the final showdown. However, you can spend a few more hours looking for more power ups and secrets before completing the game
There are no multiplayer modes in the game, though some DLC will hopefully be coming soon. We will be sure to keep you posted!
VERDICT: As a fantasy action adventure game, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is pretty good. It is very much aimed at kids, but there is enough content included within the game for anyone to enjoy. There are a few annoying AI issues and certain questionable features, like the day and night mechanic. Putting those negatives aside though, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a clever and charming title that would be a worthy of addition to any gamers collection.