It's a platform game. It's a racing game. It's a minigame collection. In actuality, Tak: The Great Juju Challenge is all of the above. Players have to work through expansive 3D worlds, alternating control between Tak and Lok, and tackle the various puzzles, minigames, and bosses scattered along the way. If that weren't enough, a go-cart race marks the end of one world and the beginning of the next. This wealth of variety makes Tak: The Great Juju Challenge a good pick for young players and experienced gamers alike, but buyer beware: Once you finish the main quest, how long the game card will remain in your DS will depend primarily on how much you like the included minigames.
The 3D platforming levels are some of the best the Nintendo DS has to offer. In all, Tak and Lok's quest spans 15 large levels spread throughout four worlds. There's a healthy mix of platform jumping, enemy bashing, and puzzle-solving. Often, you'll have to jump and climb your way to a switch in one part of a level to raise some platforms in another part of the level. A few of the game's puzzles are downright comical, too. In one level, there's a rhino guarding a large wooden fence. In order to destroy the fence, you have to attack the rhino and make him chase you, and then lead him crashing into the fence.
In the platforming levels, you can swap characters any time you like just by tapping the touch screen. Tak and Lok each have their own uses. Tak can swim in shallow water and attack distant enemies with his Juju magic, and he can use spells to heal himself or petrify enemies. Lok, meanwhile, can't swim, but he can climb vine-covered surfaces and put on a lobster suit that lets him breathe and walk deep underwater. Lok's spells also let him boost his own attack power or make him invincible for short periods.
You can upgrade Tak and Lok's spells, health, attack power, and defense by purchasing blessing gems from the sellers located between each world. The currency used to buy these gems comes in the form of the fruits, crystals, and insects you collect within each level. The switches and paths through each level tend to be painfully obvious and straightforward, so it's nice that there's this extra incentive to explore and hunt around.
To top things off, the graphics in these levels are downright impressive. The characters, trees, rocks, and other decorations in each level are well defined, thanks to crisp textures and a high polygon count. Gratuitous details, such as transparent waterfalls, rivers, and lakes, are evident all over the place, as are the accompanying splash effects that happen when Tak and Lok jump into said rivers and lakes. If you stand atop a hill, you'll be able to look out over a fair portion of the entire level. Draw distance and frame rate don't seem to be a problem with the game's graphics engine, which is somewhat of a surprise, considering that many 3D platformers on the DS have such short sight distances and choppy animation.