Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom....so many things that worked and so many things that didn't. For the most part, Majin plays out very well, mixing platforming and teamwork puzzles that are sometimes frustratingly pleasant. Even the story, while wholly clichéd, flows somewhat smoothly. It is the small things that don't play out as well. So let's jump in and break it down bit by bit.
Combat and Movement
Played in the third person perspective, combat is smooth and simple. In fact through the 13-15 hours it stays simple. In fact it doesn't really change from the first 15 minutes. The combat revolves around the x button and ordering the Majin to attack or use his spells. He plays an integral part of comabt as your character, Tepeu, cannot defeat any of the enemies by himself at first, the Majin comes in handy. Since the game stresses the teamwork aspect there are combination attacks to employ that deal extra damage when used. Later in the game when the Majin gains spells you can deploy devastating attacks that use physical attacks of the Majin and Tepeu along with one of the four spells the Majin can obtain. These spells are Wind, Lightning, Flame and Petrification. These spells also work out during the puzzles from using lightning to power machines or the flame ability to suck up flame or blow up objects in the way of your forward movement.
There is a leveling up system both for Tepeu and the Majin. Tepeu gains experience points through defeating enemies and getting blue shards (also obtainable through treasure chests) while the Majin levels up through fruit you collect for him and feed him. There is a third type of leveling up which is for you friendship with the Majin. This is gained from red shards which is gained by defeating enemies through combination attacks with the Majin. This was one of the items I felt was wrong with the game. Tepeu's leveling up feels almost worthless. It says he gets more strength, but that is never apparent. While he gets more health, the enemies scale in damage which offsets the health gain. The Majin's leveling up can been seen and felt through the gameplay and in all honesty is probably one of the more fun aspects of the game. When you bring his fruit to him and he gets excited and makes hungry noises is for lack of a better word, delightful. The friendship leveling up increases your combination attacks. This is the hardest thing to level up as you can only do combination attacks at certain times, which isn't very often and even when you do you get very little experience for it. Besides the Majin's leveling up, the other systems needed to be either more in depth or non-existent. Without the feeling of actual gain what's the point?
Tepeu gains outfits throughout your adventure. These are made up of the pieces which are made up of a head piece, chest piece, and wrist guards. Each outfit gives Tepeu a defense against a certain type of enemy. Which once again is another one of the items I felt wasn't fully necessary. Why? Besides changing Tepeu's appearance, you don't really see much difference when in combat. The most useful outfit is the bandit's outfit. Actual only two pieces of it are worth anything as one gives you extra experience for Tepeu and one gives extra friendship experience. While you don't receive these till 3/4 of the way through the game they are still worth the price of admission if you are working towards the full 1k of achievement score since there are achievements based around them.
Movement in the game as I have stated before is smooth. There are points where you can leave the Majin waiting and stealth around sneak attacking enemies. This is fun and when Tepeu sticks his spike through the back of an enemy it is very visceral. The platforming sections run well and the jumping is never frustrating. Once again platforming also involves the Majin as well. Using the Majin as a stepping stool or using his spells to work through puzzles is done well if done a little too much. By this I mean, there is almost always a section in the game that requires some form of the Majin's spells. Most of these sections are ways to access unobtainable treasure chests or fruit for the Majin. Which requires a ton of back-tracking throughout the game. In all reality you could probably run though the game in 7 hours, maybe less, if you skipped all the back-tracking. That's 8 hours of back-tracking. Ok, let's say 5 hours of back-tracking and 3 hours of combat to max Tepeu and friendship out. Even still you wind up running through each section of the game numerous amounts of time. There are teleportation rooms, however each one is locked and is only unlocked by beating the area's boss. The rooms only teleport you in between the rooms so you will still be back-tracking on foot. Rendering the rooms unnecessary. While there are save points in each section, there is no teleportation in between these points which is a missed opportunity. If it is a way to stretch out the gameplay they achieved it....to an almost completely boring point.
Graphics and Story
The graphics somewhat confused me. The environments go from stunningly gorgeous to dull and pale. While the storyline is supposed to be the darkness taking life from the world it has nothing to do with the environments. The forest regions are beautiful, when you get inside structures like forts or a battleship seem very bland and not quite as detailed as the other regions. It is if the team for the environments have something against being inside. The character models are unbalanced. The Majin himself is a very wonderously created character, while his counterpart in Tepeu is very standard. He's a thief....does he really have to look like a forest Aladdin? The bosses, which are humans corrupted into creatures of darkness, are also very bland. Or maybe standard as well. Ranging from a giant spider to a sand worm, because they are made of darkness, there isn't much detail. While I don't want to spoil the ending let's just say the last boss comes right out of left field and will make you go "What the hell?"
The core story is based around Darkness (Evil) engulfing the world little by little and The Guardian (Good) must stop it. The Guardian is the Majin, otherwise named as Teotl. Yeah, he has aka's. He has been imprisoned by the darkness for 100 years and you as a young boy with no name who can speak to animals, are charged by these animals to help free the Majin and defeat the Darkness and save the world. So upon freeing the Majin you learn he isn't strong enough to take on the darkness as the agents of darkness sucked his power out and hid it in fruit. Yes, evil is always hiding enchanted weapons is caves and dungeons so why not magic powers in fruit? So off you set on your adventure to bring the Majin back to full strength and defeat the four generals of the darkness.
While adventuring, you do get small cut scenes to flesh out the story of the Majin. You learn how he was imprisoned by darkness and who his former human friends were. He even gives you the name Tepeu in remembrance of one of these friends. The scenes are not your standard cut scenes as they are done in a shadow puppet style. They are actually kind of neat and don't drag on for too long. The one snafu during this is the Majin himself. When you first meet him, he is very vulnerable and afraid. And his voice and the way he speaks is kind of a mish mash of kermit the frog and Yoda.....only if Yoda was born slow. At first this is endearing and in some ways cute. There is almost a child like quality to him. But by hour 5, the way he talks starts to drag on the nerves. And when you get his petrification spell hour 10, and he blurts out "Tepeu! My breath now sparkles!" you almost want to drive a pencil through your eye. He is both the most endearing of the characters and the most annoying. Tepeu has almost no back story. He says once he was an orphan and that is about all you hear about him. This is a shame since he is the character you play as and it would've been nice to know a little more about him.
Full 1k'ing this game is a cinch. If you can take all the back tracking then you should be able to get it with ease. They are all pretty straight forward save for the Spell God achievements. Those might take some time to produce as pulling off Flame and Petrification spells will be hard to do. All the others are combat achievements such as defeat x amount of enemies or defeat x amount of enemies with certain attacks. And of course collecting all fruit and finding all chests. I will be also posting a solution to the Peace in Q'muakarj achievement for some clarity to that specific one.
This game is a renter. There is no replay value besides the back-tracking which once completed well that's it. There is a piece of dlc for it, but as far as I know it doesn't add any levels just new weapons for Tepeu and new outfits for the Majin. I do recommend the game though, especially to the JRPG fans and the puzzle hounds out there. And, especially, to my completionist friends looking for an easy 1k with a somewhat decent ratio.