Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
(72/100 via Metacritic)
Xbox One/Xbox 360
Cost: $14.99/Free via Games with Gold until July 31st, 2014 on Xbox One
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a platformer brought to us by Press Play, a studio acquired by Microsoft in 2012. In Max, you arrive home from school one day and become annoyed by your little brother playing with (or smashing) your toys. Via a quick internet search, you find a “spell” that, when read aloud, opens a portal and sucks your brother away. Before the portal closes, you realize your mistake and set off into the mysterious world to save him. In addition to dangers such as beasts and lava, you soon learn the strange realm is ruled by the evil Mustacho. Luckily a strange old woman acts as your Fairy Godmother, guiding you on your adventure.
The game is presented in a beautiful 2.5D environment. Your only weapon is a magic marker, and, when enchanted by the old woman, allows you to draw vines and branches, raise platforms, guide streams of water, and fire projectiles, to aid you in your quest to save Felix.
The platforming style of Max is a lot of fun, and many areas involve sliding and jumping at the right time, often in conjunction with using the magic marker. Chase sequences in the form of running from a giant beast are sometimes challenging, and sometimes frustrating, especially when the marker controls dont exactly pan out the way you hoped. The controls overall are decent, but when you are trying to connect a vine to the tip of a branch, good luck. Some of the puzzle aspects of the game take a decent amount of trial and error through this 7 hour adventure.
Scattered throughout Max’s travels, he will encounter evil eyes that act as Mustacho’s living security cameras, as well as pieces of the old woman’s amulet. Disposing of the eyes, and gaining all the amulet pieces won’t impact the game’s story, but they will net you 150 gamerscore points, so achievement hunters like myself see opportunities for replay higher than your average gamer. In the pause menu, you will see how many eyes and amulet pieces are in each level; a handy guide you should check often to see if you have missed anything.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood’s story may be somewhat weak, simply because there isn’t much in the way of character development or explanation of the mysterious land you travel to. That being said, Max delivers a fun platforming romp with great visuals and an interesting gameplay element in the magic marker. Also, despite a predictable ending, I still enjoyed playing through the game’s entirety. While the marker control may be frustrating at times, the checkpoints are forgivable. When the mechanics finally all comes together you may groan “FINALLY”, but still feel like a rock star nonetheless.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
3.5 out of 5
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