If you ask me if I was a developer right now, I would not choose to create a platformer for the PS2 right now. Have you seen how many great platforming titles the console has, from Sly Cooper to Ratchet and Clank, the PlayStation 2 is just full of great platform titles. But that didn’t stop developer Avalanche from creating their latest game - Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams for the PlayStation 2. Can this game compete with the big boys? Read our review to find out.
Right from the beginning of the game you will notice right along with the Nickelodeon logo that this game was not aimed to the older crowd, but instead aimed much more towards the younger crowd. The game starts with our buddy Tak in an extremely long sleep, sixteen days to be exact. Through a dream during this long catnap Tak hears a very convincing voice telling him that he must go and rescue a kidnapped princess. Tak, being the funny character that he is, declines the mission but then is pushed into doing it by the voice. So then the game begins. To be quite honest I really think they could have done more with the storyline. There are many times in the game where the dialogue was quite comical, and they should have built from that, instead there are many sequences that just feel unimaginative.
For those of you who don’t remember the first game, it was Tak and the Power of Juju. When I look back on that game I see a title that had some upsides but not a lot of them. The game was once again heavily aimed at the younger crowd and showed plenty of potential of providing kids with a worthy experience. Now you can see that in Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams, we have a game that is equipped with a much larger scale of gameplay that was really missing in the original.
The original game was very much a mirror the "basic" platform game. You had some puzzle solving, some item collecting, some combat, and a whole lot of jumping. The whole downside to the game was how repetitive it became. The more you played the game the more you thought you were playing the same level over and over and over again. Well now in Tak 2 we are starting to see a lot more variety in the game. Throughout the game Tak will be equipped with plenty of new abilities that will become quite useful throughout the game.
The game uses a combination of platforming action with a whole lot of puzzles. These puzzles range from moderately simple to some that actually take some brainpower. These puzzles can be quite interesting and a lot of them are where the new abilities are mostly required. For the most part the execution of the puzzles are quite solid, except for one minor problem, the camera. The camera system that was in place in the original Tak was something that really hurt the game in the long run as it made many strides at working against you instead of for you. This time around the developers have improved the camera system, but there is still some work needed to be done. There are times throughout some of the levels in which have the camera get stuck in spots. This is something that I really thought Avalanche would have learned from in the last version but regrettably the problem still does occasionally occur.
When you put the camera problems to the side, Tak 2 is actually a pretty solid platforming title. Although it may not be as complex or well rounded as many other platforming titles already on the market today, the game does a solid job of making a solid game. Had the camera angles in the game been more forgiving we really would have been looking at a great game.
The platforming market has been filled with great "playing" games, but the visual department of most of these games hasn’t been as impressive. Can Tak 2 create a game that is visually stunning? Or are we going to want to shut our eyes and hide?
The visuals of Tak 2 are actually probably one of the stronger sides of the game. What I was most impressed with in the game was not high-resolution graphics, or even a whole lot of detail, what impressed me most was the style. Although it’s not all that unique of a style, I believe Avalanche did a great job of recreating the Tak carton style in the game, with a nice use of colors. The characters in the game are also very nicely detailed, and the environments are impressive.
Overall Tak 2 is not going to win any awards for its visuals but they did a nice job of recreating the Tak world into a video game.
This game is going to appeal much more to the younger crowd then the older. In Tak 2 you have a game that tries to stick to a very simplistic style to get the core audience for the game involved more so then any other age group. In my opinion younger people are going to enjoy this game a lot more then the older groups. Unfortunately the game still doesn’t have enough variety to stay interesting through the whole game.
Tak 2 is a game that will appeal to fans of the cartoon, but I don’t see any teenagers or adults for that matter having much fun with this one. If you are looking for a game for a child this holiday season that enjoys the cartoon, Tak is a worthy suggestion.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.