Being a bit rough around the edges hasn't stopped Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom from being an enjoyable adventure.
The game revolves around two central characters, a nameless thief and a childlike troll looking creature known as Teotl, the legendary Majin. Together they travel around a fallen Kingdom taken over by the darkness, a strange black ooze that forms enemies, trying to restore the kingdom to it's former glory.
For such a large and powerful creature Teotl says "ow" a lot, as he constantly falls over. Any other sentence the Majin does try to say seems almost limited as he appears to have the mind of a 7 year old child, at times it feels like a game about being a care worker rather then a fantasy adventure title. Though awkward and bumbling Teotl is still a likable creature whose story is told in almost flash animated flashbacks as he slowly regains his memory of how the darkness took over the land and his role in those events.
Despite being overrun by the darkness, the kingdom is not completely deserted of non hostile life, plenty of animals and birds are still around to give useful advice and tips not only about what to do but about the Majin and surrounding areas as well. There are a great variety of these characters through the game and the voice acting is just as versatile ranging from suitable to out right ear splitting. The Majin himself is passable but sounds incredibly forced to portray the slow dumb creature the developers were aiming for.
Story and characters aside, Majin and the Forsaken kingdom is actually an excellent game. The core gameplay has essentially two main elements, combat and puzzles. The kingdom is split into varying areas connected by pathways all of which feature both of the above.
The combat is largely left up to the Majin who can be directed to attack using one of the commands though will auto attack anything in sight regardless unless specified to wait. Once an enemy is down a co-op attack can be initiated if you are both in range finishing the enemy off for good, normally in a flashy somersault. You can also command Teotl to use various magic attacks once learned like spewing fire or a huge breath attack which are fantastic to watch.
And that is the main issue with the fighting, you watch. The thief is pretty useless in combat dealing little damage and essentially just doing some basic attacks over and over, there is little depth or variety outside of the odd occasion where some stealth kills can be had. Add to that some collision detection issues which is especially aggravating when it's done by Teotl and the combat becomes a bit tedious in places.
Both the thief and Teotl level up when enough experience crystals are gained from enemies mainly increasing the co-op finisher eventually resulting in new, equally flashy attacks which is good because you will see them a lot over the course of the game as they are the only real way to finish enemies off for good. The Majin also gets stronger by eating fruit scattered throughout the kingdom in which the darkness has stored his lost powers in including his magic spells.
These spells are acquired slowly as part of the story, each time a new spell is learned it's power will normally then be used to solve various puzzles to get to new areas or to access bits in previous sections which can result in some backtracking here and there. None of the puzzles are all that complicated though there are a few that are deceivingly simple causing you to think but are simply fun to progress around. They vary from climbing up the Majin's back to reach a ledge to getting him to use his flame breath to light a bomb before you run around and throw it. None are used too often and exploring around and collecting all the fruit and hidden memory shards while solving puzzles is really the heart of Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom.
The best use of the accumulated puzzle skills you develop actually comes from the large boss fights that require certain strategies to defeat. Once discovered they are normally just a case of rinse and repeat but the bosses look fantastic and are surprisingly fun to battle.
The visuals are surprisingly good. The Majin's design is especially nice with some vegetation on his back that gradually gets bigger with flowers and vines as he gets stronger through fruit eating varying his appearance gradually. Each area in the duo travel in is full of detail from water and plants to crystals and buildings, there is a large amount of variation and colour making it fun to not only explore but to stop and simply take in your surroundings, I did on a few occasions.
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom takes perhaps 15 to 20 hours to actually finish. There is a true ending to work towards as well as plenty of collectibles to hunt for as well as many costumes to find that have various effects in battle.
To conclude, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom is a good game but not a perfect one. The visuals and music are great and the exploration, puzzles and boss fights make it just plain fun to play. The voice acting and battle system are a bit of a let down in contrast but don't let them stop you from giving this otherwise great fable a try.
+ Colourful visuals and nice music.
+ Puzzles and exploration are fun.
+ Boss fights are clever and varied.
- Voice acting is all over the place.
- Combat doesn't involve the player all that much.