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Topic: User Review - Majin & The Forsaken Kingdom

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MadchesterManc

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After a few weeks off from reviewing to catch up on some games, I thought id drop another review PushSquare's way. During my break I came across this game when browsing my local GAME store. With there being a 3 for 2 offer on and the price only being £7.99 I thought id give it a try. As always when I review a game that has no review on Pushsquare, I post it here for you guys to enjoy.  A quick glance at the screenshots will probably leave you asking if this is somewhat similar to a certain other game that's currently gone AWOL, While it does share some similar concepts to The Last Guardian, It doesn't seem to aim for the same heights. So how does it fare?

Features
The games story & setting are set within a once prosperous kingdom that has been gradually overtaken by a mysterious 'Darkness', causing the world and its populace to decay. You play as Tepeu, a young thief who sets out to infiltrate an ancient castle and free the mythical 'Majin'. The Majin is an incredibly powerful mythical beast that you find trapped within the castle. Upon freeing him and escaping the castle, you agree to help reclaim his lost powers and restore the land by defeating the 'Darkness'. Not too long after escaping the castle - It turns out that Tepeu can understand animals, which is why he became an orphan due to his 'gift', which leads to helpful tips from numerous animals during the game and is the reason why he is able to communicate withe the Majin. Lets talk about the Majin. The Majin, or Teotl as he calls himself, is probably the key feature within the game. While you never control him directly, always via a command wheel, you will come to rely on his numerous skills. Puzzles will more than likely be unsolvable without Teotl's help and in combat it becomes even more apparent. There is an obvious difference between the two characters and Tepeu's small size will leave you having to separate from the Majin at numerous points. At these moments you'll realise stealth is key  due to most of the duo's strength in engagements coming from the Majin. The main way for you to boost the Majin's power is to collect fruits. Red ones boost strength & Green ones boost stamina. There are also mini berry's you feed him to regain health, Tepeu's health is regenerated by the Majin, while Teotl's main powers (Wind, Electricity etc) are also stored within large, distinct, berry's hidden beyond puzzles & enemies. Tepeu also levels up increasing his capability's, but its never anything on the same scale as the Majin's. A good way to boots stats as Tepeu though is to seek and and find treasure chests. These either contain orbs (used to level up) or occasionally will have an item of clothing for you to collect. Different clothes boost different abilities and can be switched out at save points, also changing your characters appearance. These tend to be hidden beyond puzzles too but are usually easy to get once the Majin gains more abilities. Teotl can also be customised later in the game too. The kingdom you explore is fairly vast but not as open as you hope to be truthful. Most areas are locked away behind 'seals' which you have to defeat a boss to open for the most part too when you first venture out. Other areas are added to the world map too,increasing its size and bringing a different look to the game. Progress is fairly linear in this regard, the game also doesn't seem to do a good job of explaining your objectives sometimes, and once your goal is completed you'll usually face my biggest gripe with the game - Backtracking. A lot. The games world isn't big enough to warrant a fast-travel system like an RPG, Instead using 'transport rooms' that allow you to teleport to certain areas in the map ( theres 8 portals altogether). The backtracking though appears to happen EVERY time you complete a task and the portals do not take you near your current objective most of the time, so you'll still backtrack a lot from them too. It comes across as blatant padding to me If I'm honest. Granted, sometimes you'll pass through a previous area and be able to access a previously unreachable treasure chest, but for the most part that doesn't happen. The game also lacks an objective menu, leaving you to be 'lost' at times. A couple of times no indication has been given on where I'm to proceed next, leaving me to ponder for a few minutes and resort to a walkthrough to get my bearings. Its understandable why they've foregone onscreen objective markers and the like, but replacing it with a system (the map sometimes pops up circling where you need to go next) that doesn't always work isn't the way to go. A map is always accessible but your objective is not always on it. While these aren't game breaking by any means, its something for you to be mindful of. A couple of reviews Ive read beforehand make no mention of these issues! Everything else the game seems to handle fairly well. A day/night cycle is also included, offering a few new adversaries at night and memory shards to collect to piece together the Majins story. Its story in particular, while at times predictable and never truly expanded to a degree, is interesting enough to enjoy and the occasional twist & turn with regards to the Majin's past may surprise you. The game lacks any kind of multiplayer, in truth it would seem out of place on a title like this, but there is some DLC to boost content a little more for when the journey is done.

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Gameplay
When it comes to gameplay, Majin plays like a traditional adventure game. In some ways id regard it as more of a puzzle game due to the gameplay being almost entirely orientated towards completing puzzles to further your progress. Issuing commands to Teotl can also lead to more strategic situations. At numerous points you will face strong enemies, mini-bosses if you will, that are a match at times for the Majin. IF you pause for a moment and survey your surroundings, there will always be something you can use to your advantage. A weak pillar for example can be pushed over by the Majin, crushing your enemies. At times Tepeu will be separated from Teotl and with the obvious vulnerability of having no Majin to back you up, you will often resort to stealth which relies on avoiding enemies field-of-view making takedowns from behind a necessity. Gameplay is clearly a mixture of Strategy, Adventure & Puzzle with the game managing to merge these together to form a solid game. Tepeu controls as you would expect in a traditional adventure game as the developers have chosen to ignore the fluidity apparent in series like Uncharted for a more down to earth system. This can lead to the odd clunky moment during a puzzle, but for the most part it works fine and comes across as a tad refreshing due to its more traditional roots. Controls are also well placed. As you expect X is jump, with 'Circle' as interaction/'Square' is attack/;triangle' is dodge/L1/L2 are lock-on & crouch while R1 R2 issue commands to the Majin. With the controls being so clearly defined, most fault will be down to the player. The combat is fluid and once you've got to grips with issuing commands to the Majin on the fly, will become a doddle until you start encountering much more difficult enemies. As you'll find, Tepeu is weak in combat, doing most damage when an enemy has been knocked to the floor. After a few hits you'll be able to access a combo finishing move on the enemy by pressing 'circle' which nets you bonus XP and knocks away surrounding enemies. While Tepeu's clear weakness in combat is apparent, it does help to enforce the fact that you will need to rely on Teotl. The game does a superb job of ensuring that both characters rely of each other to get through the situations they face. Muti-tiered boss fights are a good indication of this as you'll need to rely on the strengths of both characters to previal. The boss encounters also contain a puzzle that helps emphasise that aspect of the game even more. While at no time do you directly control the Majin, you will feel as though he does rely on you - for more than is apparent at first

majin.jpg

Graphics
As with most niche titles out there, the graphics are not the game strongest facet. Don't get me wrong though, at times this game can be beautiful! but there are moments where its rough edges shine through. Nowhere is this more apparent than the odd shader glitch that seems to happen every so often. At times you will see an obvious lightmap glitch that shows itself as a striped pattern overlayed on the texture. It seems to appear only in certain areas,on certain walls even,so won't be seen too much. The game also appears to be using no anisotropic filtering on the textures as they appear garish sometimes and you can clearly see where the filtering area extends from. The only other aspect of the engine that is obviously rough is the pop-in for objects. while not always noticeable due to the closed areas in most places, sometimes during a stretch you'll see objects (trees, bushes, grass etc) pop-in a little closer than you'd expect considering the world isn't too open. So what about the good aspects? While the engine is a little rough around the edges, its till able to convey some beauty. While the texture filtering is a little off, the textures themselves are nicely detailed and coloured with a palette that's creates a warm & soothing atmosphere. Characters are nicely detailed and animated well enough, with the Majin occasionally stumbling and falling over adding character and believability to Teotl. Theres also nice effects in play too like the way the sun streams through clouds and tress, although others like the games use of depth of field is a little overdone blurring the distance a little too much. The real-time lighting that causes the shadows to shift as the day passes by is a nice little touch. Resolutions seems nicely defined (Ps3 outputs as 1080p but I'm not too sure if it actually is, its more than likely upscaled 720p) & the framerate is suitably smooth, never seeming to stutter or drop below whats expected. The game has a surprisingly good use of a sound to be honest. Voice acting can be a little wooden at times due to its budget nature, but sound effects and music are well done. The way the sound of the 'Darkness' gets louder as you approach them is a nice touch and the background music helps to add to that relaxing atmosphere the game conveys. Overall, aside from the odd blemish, the presentation is good with a nice, colourful, stylised look married to decent performance and a good use of sound.

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Conclusion
While the game does have some technical issues & the odd clunky moment, it has enough charm to supersede its issues and provide a fairly entertaining romp. The puzzle filled adventure gameplay will no doubt keep your mind ticking over and would interest those nostalgic for adventure games of yesteryear. Where the game succeeds the most is in its ability to convey the need for the characters to rely on each other. The vulnerability that sets in when you are separated from the Majin is testament to that. If you can look past its niggles & rough around the edges nature, You'll find a charming adventure that shows a symbiotic relationship can be struck up between a player & their AI partner.

7/10

(With this being on PSQR Ive used PushSquare's scoring policy http://www.pushsquare.com/scoring )

*Sorry for the somewhat large screenshots. Could only find these few that were below 1280x720 though*
While it does have it flaws, its worth a go. Especially with the price it can be had for these days, although it can be a little hard to find in shops. I mentioned The Last Guardian in the intro as this game is how id envisage that to be, although more polished obviously lol In a sense you could use this game as a glimpse of what could've been with The Last Guardian. If you've played Majin. let me know what you thought!

During the week I may be looking into reviewing Beyond & Dragons Crown (Vita version). With those having reviews here, they'll be on the blog. If your interested in checking them you can follow my Twitter (link on my profile) to get updated when they go live
otakugamersuk.blogspot.co.uk

Edited on by MadchesterManc

http://www.otakugamers.uk
https://twitter.com/OtakuGamersUK
"Love is a device invented by bank managers to make us overdrawn" AJ Rimmer

PSN: MadchesterManc | Twitter:

ShogunRok

I remember this one. I was interested at the time because of Majin's great design, and I liked the look of the fantasy setting. I'm not entirely sure what ended up putting me off...

Another great review though @MadchesterManc, you always seem to cover games that we've all somewhat forgotten about, making them nice reminders!

ShogunRok

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ZeD

@MadchesterManc Like @ShogunRok says, these are the games you see trialers for, think that you might play them & they get over looked.  You should try an aim your reviews at these sort of games.  It is perfect time as the PS4 is very close & players may miss out on some gems.

Great work!

Staff Writer @ www.otakugamers.uk
PSN: zedmayer
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MadchesterManc

Thanks for reading guys good to hear you guys are still enjoying the reviews. Whenever I do one for a title you've missed I'll keep posting them here. One of the most amusing aspects of the game I didnt mention was that the boss characters refer to the Majin as 'the last gaurdian'. Always made me chuckle lol

@ZeD I'll keep on covering games like this I author on a Niche & Otaku gaming blog so games like this Majin are the ones we usually cover. Beyond is probably the only high profile game we'll cover so these obscure titles are always up for reviewing

Edited on by MadchesterManc

http://www.otakugamers.uk
https://twitter.com/OtakuGamersUK
"Love is a device invented by bank managers to make us overdrawn" AJ Rimmer

PSN: MadchesterManc | Twitter:

Epic

Pretty neat and the fact is more a puzzle adventure game makes it even better in my opinion.

PSN: Epic-ZX

PSN: Epic-ZX

MadchesterManc
Epic

Pretty neat and the fact is more a puzzle adventure game makes it even better in my opinion.

Its very much a puzzle adventure game. Id say 70-80% of the game is based around puzzle segments. Reminded me a lot of the type of adventure games we used to get in previous generations. Can't say Im a puzzle guy myself though, Catherine had me munching my controller in frustration at times, but even then I still managed to enjoy Majin. Definetely worth a go if you like puzzles in games

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"Love is a device invented by bank managers to make us overdrawn" AJ Rimmer

PSN: MadchesterManc | Twitter:

Sanquine
MadchesterManc
Epic

Pretty neat and the fact is more a puzzle adventure game makes it even better in my opinion.

Its very much a puzzle adventure game. Id say 70-80% of the game is based around puzzle segments. Reminded me a lot of the type of adventure games we used to get in previous generations. Can't say Im a puzzle guy myself though, Catherine had me munching my controller in frustration at times, but even then I still managed to enjoy Majin. Definetely worth a go if you like puzzles in games

Grr Catherine... Died so much. Did not like the block pushing etc

PSNid= Sanquine90

PSN: Sanquine90

Sanquine
MadchesterManc

@Sanquine Yeah I hear ya on the block pushing Luckily the puzzles in this dont involve much in the way of block pushing so it wont be bringing on any flashbacks of Catherine and traumatising you while playing Majin lol

Relieved... I think i died about 60 times in a row that i was so fed up with it that i gave the game to my girlfriend. Guess what she killed every level..

PSNid= Sanquine90

PSN: Sanquine90

Tasuki
MadchesterManc
Tasuki

Great review.

Man they should add you on as a reviewer.

Thanks I took your advice and continued reviewing other games and posting them to a blog. I'll still post the occasional review here tho if it's a title PushSquare haven't done

Yeah a blog is great that way you have a single place with all of your reviews, that way if you decide to apply for a reviewer job somewhere you have all of your work in one place so when they ask for a sample its easy to find. 

I hope that this doesn't go out of bounds but I do hope you do decided to do reviews for somewhere cause you are really good at it. 

Push Square Moderator and all around retro gamer.

My Backlog

PSN: Tasuki3711

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