Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is an action-adventure game set in a new fantasy setting. Typical of the genre, you’ll also solve various types of puzzles as you explore and defeat enemies.
Released about a month before Christmas, this game was quickly lost in the plethora of new games at that time. I never let it leave my radar, and eventually found some time to check out the game. Turned out to be a little different than I was expecting.
It’s the Muppet Show!
As the name suggests, the game is set in a fantasy land now known as the Forsaken Kingdom. At one time this prosperous nation was the height of civilization, but eventually fell into darkness. You take on the role of a nameless thief who was raised by animals (which incidentally means you can speak their language) who has set off for the Forsaken Kingdom in search of the legendary power of the Majin.
Soon after you begin exploring the Kingdom you’ll find the Magin, a large creature who looks and sounds like something out of the Muppet Show. With his assistance you’ll spend your time solving puzzles as you try and restore a weakened Majin to his full power. You’ll also see flashbacks as to why the Kingdom fell to darkness. These are done through very cool stylized cut scenes that look like a flat-paper puppet show.
Visually, the game is beautiful. Unlike many other games of this generation which take place in dark, drab broken lands, Majin is full of color. Even in the ruins of the ancient city, you’ll find nature has begun to grow once again. Additionally, instead of the normal CGI cut-scenes, Majin features a sort of paper cut-out puppet show when it needs to fill in the gaps. These scenes easily became one of my favorite parts of the game.
Find Your Own Way
The game seems to take many of its quests from games like the Zelda series. It’s an open sandbox world filled with enemies and puzzles. Defeating many of those enemies isn’t a straight forward fight, which leads to further puzzles to uncover. In most cases you’ll need to help the majin rediscover his powers.
Finding these powers is where things get difficult. In most games of this style talking to the people you come across generally points you in the proper direction. However in Majin you are exploring ancient ruins devoid of sentient life. In their place are occasional visits from the animals who raised you. Less annoying than the obviously recycled voice actors is that more often than not they only to give you factoids of the world. Without some sort of guidance I found myself wandering back and forth trying to find which way to go.
On many occasions I stumbled into a spot which required a power the Majin didn’t have yet. With no indications at start of the area, or from the animal friends, I spent a lot of time back tracking and trying to find which way I hadn’t gone yet. It gave me the feel of traveling through a labyrinth. I also had many problems with the enemies. Because defeating them was a puzzle itself, it wasn’t always clear when I had to change tactics. I often found myself scratching my head wondering why a tried and true method no longer worked.
This was a very difficult review for me to write. There is so much about this game that I like. The main characters, the setting, and especially the story was very compelling. Unfortunately the frustrations from inconsistent ways to defeat the same enemies, and getting half way through an area only to have to turn back because I didn’t have the proper powers kept me from properly enjoying this game. However fans of the Zelda style adventure games could definitely find something to like. Just be ready for lots of repeat exploration.
- Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom
- Developer/Publisher: Game Republic / Namco Bandai Games
- Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3
- MSRP: $29.99
- Note: This review is based on a review copy of the Xbox 360 edition of the game