Sadly Bufo isn't Juka's only problem, he's also unbearably slow. I'm not sure if it's that he's wearing uncomfortable shoes or just enjoys taking in the scenery, but Juka is one of the slowest heroes I have ever seen in a video game. He just kind of walks around like he's not on some kind of important adventure, slow as can be. Maybe I’m just spoiled by all of the other adventure games and their speedy characters, but there's something about the speed of this game that really grates on my nerves. Juka's speed is especially annoying when you're faced with enemies that throw projectiles, there are a lot of times where dodging attacks is simply not an option. I know the Game Boy Advance is lacking buttons, but it would have been nice to get some sort of "run" button added to the game play.
The good news is that Juka's combat is actually quite unique … once you get used to it. The game gives you two different types of shields, a dark sound shield that absorbs the sound bits and converts them into shield energy. The light sound shield, on the other hand, absorbs the sound bits and then shoots them right back at the enemies. These two shields are mapped to two completely different buttons, which certainly seems odd at first but is pretty effective once you've gotten the hang of it. Thankfully the game teaches you how to harness these powers and use them to your advantage, and when you forget they do a great job of reminding you what you should be doing.
The graphics in Juka and the Monophonic Menace are surprisingly good. Perhaps I'm just used to all of the half-assed licensed games being released on the Game Boy Advance, but I was impressed with what Orbital was able to accomplish with this outdated technology. You won't confuse this game with a fancy next-generation title or something on the PSP, but the graphics are sharp and colorful and a lot of fun to look at. Best of all, the background graphics actually change as you get further into the game. It still looks like a lot of 16-bit adventure games, but Juka has a style all its own that should keep most gamers interested in seeing what comes next.
Juka and the Monophonic Menace manages to get just enough right for me to recommend it. Some gamers may be put off by the game's easy difficulty and cute look, but if you're looking for a fun adventure game that is not too violent or mature, then Juka is well worth checking out. It may not make you want to give up your DS or PSP, but I can certainly think of worse reasons to dust off your Game Boy Advance.
With its unique game play and memorable characters, Juka and the Monophonic Menace is just interesting enough for me to recommend. It won't make you want to give up on the Zelda series, but it is a solid reason to dust off your GBA and give it some love!
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