Namco Bandai Games appears to be on a roll this year with their second sleeper hit on their hands. Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a hybrid of several genres mixed with an inspiring story that manages to captivate users into the narrative. It is extremely hard to break in with a new IP, and while I really enjoyed what Majin offers, I don’t expect this series to be blessed with yearly sequels. Still if you love adventure games such as Zelda and ICO there really is a lot to love about Game Republic’s latest. Even with an annoying set of voice work I cannot recommend Majin enough to gamers looking for a solid adventure game with a solid story.
You play as Tepeu, a protagonist who starts the game with no name and the ability to talk to animals. You join our hero in the midst of his adventure to rid the kingdom of the darkness. Helping the animals he stumbles upon the legendary guardian known as the Majin. The story is told through gorgeous 2D art stills and character conversation. While I do love the overall story most of the voice acting is truly questionable. Game Republic has done a good job a creating the universe and regardless of how you feel about the voice work, you will enjoy the story.
From the minute you obtain the Majin the game opens up. The dynamic between you and the Guardian is one of the charms that make this game special. You can control actions by simply holding down the right trigger and pressing the corresponding button. You will also earn powers throughout the game that will help you open up new areas with a sort of Metroid vibe. Throughout the game you will see areas that are inaccessible at first until you gain access to more powers. The world is massive, giving players plenty of area to explore and collect memory shards and upgrade fruit for the Majin.
The controls work for most commands and the action is easily performed with just one or two buttons. The problems sometimes arrive when Majin decides to ignore your commands and go off on his own. It doesn’t happen often but when it does it can be frustrating. There are plenty of puzzles to figure out and a host of platforming but the main focus seems to be combat. It is worth noting that Tepeu is definitely not strong enough to tackle most of the enemies on his own, so you need to wait on your large partner before heading into battle.
Combat may be the priority but there are also hints of puzzle, platforming and stealth action. The game does a nice job of keeping the pace most of the time, but it does stutter step at times when backtracking comes into play. Sometimes missions are not clearly defined and you are left wandering around the world trying to figure out where to go next. This wouldn’t be as much of an issue if there was a better fast travel system. Instead you are given a rather archaic mechanic that forces you to find specific rooms to travel to pre-determined locations. This is usually more trouble than it’s worth and it is introduced so late in the game you already have the map memorized.
To be fair there are only five major boss battles, but the sheer size and scope of the game will last you double-digit hours easily. There are chests and memory shards to collect and it is nice that the game keeps track of each ones you have found in each area. For the price of admission the game definitely offers enough to make it worth your investment; especially if you enjoy these types of games.
Visually the game looks nice but it isn’t anything that is going to change the world. I loved the variety of locales to explore and the frame rate rarely dips unless the combat gets too intense. Te enemy types vary just enough to keep things fresh and the five major bosses are nicely designed. The sound is a mixed bag. As I mentioned the voice acting is atrocious at times, especially the voice of some of the animals and the Majin. The music on the other hand is delightful and definitely set the mood perfectly. Also a nice nod to the Zelda chimes when solving certain puzzles.
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a wonderful title that deserves to be experienced by fans of adventure/puzzle games. It is a lengthy adventure with a wonderful story that will keep you entertained through most of the game. Sure there are some setbacks and the buddy mechanic becomes frustrating when Majin decides to run off on his own, but the overall experience is so well done you can’t help but appreciate what the devs have accomplished here. I strongly urge anyone who enjoys the genre to give Game Republic’s latest a chance. For forty bucks it is hard not to recommend.
Review copy provided by publisher.