Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom Review
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Despite some repetitive combat and unresponsive controls, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom's evocative visuals, epic bosses and neat puzzles provide more than enough reason to witness the relationship between a thief and a giant magical oaf slowly flourish
- The lush environments and brilliant cut-scenes
- The intelligently crafted environmental puzzles
- The epic boss battles, which add some depth to the otherwise basic combat
- The repetitive combat
- The unresponsive controls
- The the relationship between the thief and Majin feels underdeveloped
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom follows the familiar yet instantly accessible theme of discovering friendship in peculiar places. However, where other similar stories - notably ICO - prevail at conveying this theme with grace and reverence, the Forsaken Kingdom takes the silly, awkward approach to building a trusting relationship with an unlikely companion. The game puts you in the shoes of a relatively agile thief who has the uncanny ability to converse with animals. In a world turned to darkness, the animals call upon the thief to befriend the Majin, a giant bumbling oaf with a heart of gold and the mind of a dimwitted four-year-old.
It takes little time for the thief to find the Majin, locked up in a castle and drained of his power. When the thief releases the Majin, named Teotl, from captivity, the pair quickly discovers they need to combine their efforts in order to survive. The entire world’s darkness consumes people, turning them into black gooey beasts, and while the thief (later named Tepeu) is smart enough to stay out of trouble, he’s not strong enough to fight enemies. Likewise, Teotl is strong enough to battle foes, but not smart enough to do so on his own accord. Thus, a partnership is born, with Tepeu promising to restore Teotl's power along the way in exchange for the lumbering giant's help.
The story advances as the pair’s friendship grows. While it never really reaches its full potential, it still manages to convey a classic tale of courage, and relying on those stronger than us for protection. Of course, the narrative is only one particular highlight on offer, as you’ll encounter a plethora of brainteasers and boss battles throughout to keep you distracted, the latter of which play out more like giant puzzles rather than epic bouts of strength and agility.
Forsaken Kingdom has a tendency to force you to backtrack. Once your Majin learns a new ability—there are four total—you’ll be able to enter new areas. Getting to those areas requires you to walk through the same environments over and over again, which quickly becomes monotonous. The Majin regains various abilities, strength, and stamina by eating fruit scattered throughout the land. The first ability you recover is wind, which allows you to blow over enemies and interact with various environmental objects. And this is the gist of the game: you help the creature recover abilities, which in turn allows you to interact with objects you couldn’t before, thus progressing you through the story. You’ll eventually acquire lightning and fire, and finally the ability to turn darkness into crystal.
Navigating the game’s puzzles is a simple task thanks to the control set-up, although the Majin can be a bit slow off the bat when performing rudimentary instructions such as follow, stay, crouch, as well as various interact abilities. Still, it’s easy enough to get to grips with - you simply hold a right trigger button to call up different commands for the creature, select the one you want, and bob’s your uncle. The ‘interact’ ability is extremely wide ranging, and generally has the Majin lifting giant stone doors or pushing over weak walls. As you acquire additional abilities, you’ll be able to blow objects or set up a string of electricity to power an object. One of the highlights to the game’s puzzles is the use of a catapult. The Majin is strong enough to launch you to areas once inaccessible, which of course allows you to find treasure or levers, again progressing the story. Everything in the game is laid out relatively clearly. While the puzzles offer some complexity, there are plenty of helpful hints along the way, including some familiar Zelda-esque tones when you discover the appropriate secret to advance.
One of the game’s biggest problems is the control reactions. Tepeu has a single jump, which is pretty unresponsive. As such, since this maneuver is typically involved in puzzle solving, you’ll have to allocate an extra half-second or so to perform to properly pull off your feat. It’s not a game breaker by any stretch of the imagination, but it is irritating nonetheless.
Similarly, combat falls victim to some ongoing issues. For starters, you are only given a ... (continued on next page)
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