On paper, Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom has a lot of things going against it. It prominently features an AI-controlled character, which is hard to pull off successfully, since you have to look out not only for your own health but also the health of the character. It
And yet, Majin holds its own fairly well. Its tale of a young thief and a lumbering friendly giant is a surprisingly resonant one. It
Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom looks excellent. The Majin himself looks as old as the world, and your character animates well. The enemies look suitably menacing as well, and there’s an especially cool effect that happens when you get damaged. The more you get damaged, the more corrupted you get, with black goop sticking to your character. The first couple of times it happened, I couldn’t figure out what was happening and then realized that I was becoming one of the enemies I was trying to defeat. That was a “woah” moment for me.
Now, AI-controlled characters are hard to do. For every game that gets it right, there are hundreds that get it wrong. In the good games, the character stays the heck out of your way and sometimes even helps. In the bad ones, the AI-controlled character ends up repeatedly getting hung up on scenery or does stupid things that make you throw your controller in anger.
However, the Majin performs really well. He’s easy to control and send to attack, wait or push over walls and such onto his enemies. It’s all handled from a very simple menu that gives you new skills gently and doesn’t make you too frustrated too quickly.
I’ve only had one major problem with him. In order to reach higher areas, you have to ask the Majin to crouch down so you can jump on his back. Once you get on his back, He’ll fling you in whatever direction you happen to be facing. The problem is, you have to line him up right and line yourself up right, lest you end up flying into the air and landing back down, no further to your goal. Sure, you don’t get hurt from it, but it’s still annoying and I wish it would have handled differently.
The music and sound is very sharp. There’s a creepy sound that alerts you to when enemies are around, and the voices are well-done. My only complaint is with the Majin’s voice. He sounds like Barney with a head injury. When he says, “Yeah! That great!” for the fiftieth time, you’ll want to tear his adorable head off. Aside from that, I had very few complaints.
A lot of the game is spent trying to figure out how to use both characters together to solve objectives. It that way, it’s reminiscent of a different game: Zelda: Spirit Tracks. You’ll be presented with a problem, you need to figure out what the best approach is and then move quickly to get it done.
My only real complaint is this: There are several sections where you’re isolated from the Majin and have to work stealthily to get somewhere. Your enemies are brain-dead. If you thought that Metal Gear Solid’s short-attention-span soldiers were ridiculous, you’ll have a hoot as well as a holler at Majin and the Forsaken Kingdom’s enemies who conveniently forget that you exist just because you ducked into a gap in the wall. They also respawn repeatedly, which is annoying as heck.
That being said, the puzzles are pretty clever. It’s like someone took the idea of Spirit Tracks’ dual characters and stretched it to a full-length game, which is not a bad concept at all. It’s tremendously satisfying leading enemies to a certain spot while the Majin waits patiently to push a wall on top of them.