Juju seems to be a game that’s aimed at a younger demographic then Flying Wild Hog studio is used to making games for. They are known for more adult titles such as Shadow Warrior and Hard Reset, but Juju is definitely a game that is suited towards kids. It’s a cooperative platforming set in a colorful world filled with cute and stylized creatures. It’s seems like a game that a parent would play with their younger kids, and in that sense, the game worked in the preview session. This isn’t exactly what you’d expect out of this studio, and the gameplay that was experienced isn’t very technical, and is very forgiving. It is a visual experience that’s for sure, and the music is a wonder collection of upbeat and calming music. To get the most out of the experience, I stole my sister and forced her to play with me (until she saw the game and lit up at the visuals).
The game is a pretty simple platformer, which borrows elements from the Mario franchise. There are two playable characters in the preview, the title character, Juju, a shaman panda with no special abilities, and a lizard sidekick named Peyo. Peyo has the ability to eat enemies with no real downside to him (at least one that I could not see), as it seems he was designed to be helpful to the first player in mind.
Like the Mario franchise, there are lots of butterflies (coins) to collect, and getting enough butterflies in a level will unlock coins. These coins didn’t really do anything in the main gameplay that we saw, however they seem very similar to the Stars within the Mario universe. In addition, there were secret doors in the level to find, that would take you to extra rooms with more butterflies to get (and an extra coin), however these rooms in the preview became repetitive quickly. The platforming itself wasn’t difficult at all, there’s no tricky jumps or even semi-tricky jumps, and seems like the game is expecting you to kick back and relax and take in its sights and sounds. Which is where the preview shined, as just playing along to the beat of the game and the wonderful visuals was a nice change in pace for some of the more action packed and tense games that I have played lately.
But to that extent, the preview got repetitive very quickly, as within several levels the gameplay started to become stale. While this may be taken care of by new mechanics being introduced (as a float jump was introduced towards the end of gameplay experience), there are concerns that the game may wear on those who are looking for more variety from their game. There also seems to be two different modes you can play in the level, but there was little information about what the difference in the level types were, as the game played relatively the same for both modes in question.
Given the games audience seemingly being kids, it could be a good introduction for younger kids into gaming. This preview will be followed up with a formal review as the game is released to Steam, PS3, and Xbox 360 .