What do we get when we cross the summer holiday of 2008, a PlayStation 2 and a very questionable farcical dream with a sprinkling of juju… Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams! Honestly, this has to be one of my fondest childhood gaming memories, thus it is only right to sing its praises.
Released on GameCube and PlayStation 2 by Avalanche Software in the UK in 2005, it received pretty positive reviews with IGN giving the game a score of 8.4 and Metacritics’s user score standing at a solid 8.8.
If anything, [Tak 2] could be likened to one of Aesop’s fables.
Despite its critical success, it seems only my siblings and I knew of its very existence. Perhaps the fact that it probably could have only been found in the deep depths of Blockbuster’s shelves speaks to the overall poor and rather underwhelming marketing of this game.
As the sequel and successor to the first game Tak and the Power of Juju, Tak 2 is more than just a game. If anything, it could be likened to one of Aesop’s fables where we come to learn the importance of perseverance, tactical thinking and resourcefulness.
Like an unorthodox fairy tale, Tak’s goal is to defeat the Dream Guardian and save the perplexed princess stuck in the tower of Dreamworld. The nostalgic and novel aesthetic of this game must be applauded, with its avant-garde and twisted art style creating a truly unique experience – an aspect reinforced by numerous well-constructed CG movies that flesh out background stories between each level.
As we delve and journey through the various dimensions of Dreamworld in which Tak is unknowingly trapped, we have the opportunity to take in the beautiful scenery of tropical nature, mountainous skylines and even volcanic terrains.
Despite his good friends Jibolba and Lok attempting to awaken Tak from his deep dreams, Tak seems to really command the space – some would even argue he appears to be in his element given his skillful handling of the Staff of Dreams.
Yet what I recall more than anything is his incredibly poor performance in the face of water – Wetstone Lake. Boy, do I lament the hours my siblings and I relentlessly spent trying to keep Tak afloat in a barrel-turned-raft alongside accomplice Jibolba, as they battled against harsh river currents of Bedlam Falls.
But nothing was too much for Tak. He draws on his innate resourcefulness and learns several skills such as the ability to swing between trees and earns Juju powers, yet surprisingly never quite seems to nail the ability to swim.
Ultimately, this game will forever live fondly on in my memories and I shall be continuing to pass its underrated legacy on to future generations. Tak 2: The Staff of Dreams can probably only be found on sites like eBay or Amazon today, but if you have a functioning PlayStation 2 or GameCube I would recommend the investment if you are looking for a dubious distraction from university or adulting responsibilities.
Featured image credit: @Tast3ThaPainbow (Twitter)
Last modified: 11th March 2020