JUJU is aimed at a select group of gamers but provides a fun experience for those who are young – or young at heart.
We first saw JUJU in Cologne during Gamescom. It was very early on Friday (before the doors opened for the general audience), but the team from Flying Wild Hog was ready to go and enthusiastic about their upcoming game. What we saw was surprising – Flying Wild Hog was known for the very violent Shadow Warrior and here we were playing possibly the cutest videogame we had seen in years.
JUJU is a platformer in the traditional 2D sense, but with some changes that set it apart from games like Mario or Rayman. The last two Rayman games were great, but also puts up quite a challenge during some of its harder levels – even for platforming veterans. JUJU’s levels are a breeze to complete if you’re not too interested in point pressing or hunting for gems and secrets. This is a mainly due to JUJU’s focus on being a kid-friendly game that welcomes players of all skill levels. Happy to just get through a level? Entirely possible. Eager to unlock every single secret area? That will require a different play style with a lot more challenge.
What Flying Wild Hog has done well is to allow players of very different skill levels to play together. If you grew up playing Mario or Sonic and want to introduce your children to platforming – this is how to do it. JUJU’s cooperative mode allows you to jump right into an ongoing game and help out, so if any of the game’s 40 or so levels proves too much for a less skilled player then you’re a button press away from helping out.
When playing together, one player controls a pink panda called JUJU while the other takes charge of Peyo, his lizard sidekick. Both characters are quite different from one another and also change during the game as they learn new skills for you to use. You’ll need these abilities to overcome the larger boss enemies at the end of each of the four worlds as well – levels where it really helps to have a more experienced player in the game.
JUJU doesn’t try to compete with the likes of Rayman, but offers a family-friendly entry into the platforming genre instead. Perhaps that’s also its weak point, as the game may hold less appeal for the audience that’s playing platformers like Super Meat Boy or Rayman. If you have some little ones running around that you’d like to introduce to platforming though, then JUJU is more than worth checking out this Christmas.