Tak is a young shaman in training who stars in his own computer animated Nickelodeon cartoon. In The Guardians of Gross, Tak accidentally releases four of the most putrid giant golems ever, and now he’ll have to learn some equally gross magic himself to seal away the behemoths before they stink up the jungle.
Tak and the Guardians of Gross is a 3-D platform jumping adventure. Tak runs, jumps and wall climbs past obstacles and uses his magic staff to beat enemies. He’ll learn some new grosstacular juju magic to beat the nasty giants, plus solve puzzles and bypass obstacles. Turn into a boogery slime ball to stick to surfaces or summon a stinky wind to blow objects away. When facing the giant Gross Guardians, players may even be reminded of a kid-friendly version of Shadow of the Colossus.
Unfortunately, the graphics in the PS2 version are so blurry and/or dark that it’s often difficult to know where to go and what is a safe platform or a pitfall. And it’s a pretty unoriginal run-of-the-mill 3-D platformer. Young fans of the Tak cartoon may like it, but probably not anyone else.
Tak and the Guardians of Gross is rated E-10 for Everyone with ESRB descriptors of Cartoon Violence and Comic Mischief, although I’d be OK with kids under 10 playing it as well. Tak bonks enemies with his magic staff, who then disappear when defeated. The Comic Mischief comes from all the booger and snot jokes in the game. Reading skill is helpful for the instructions, but Tak usually speaks up himself to give a hint or two every now and then. The difficulty level is pretty forgiving most of the time, but a few tricky jumps and tough mini-game challenges against the computer may frustrate some younger and less experienced gamers.