When Evan reviewed Max: The Curse of Brotherhood this past December, I trusted his judgment and passed on the game. A month later, with all my launch titles completed and a the typical post-launch drought setting in, I decided against my better judgment to try MtCoB. I'm glad I did, turns out it's actually pretty good.
Max is a reimagining of sorts of developer Press Play's first title, Max and the Magic Marker. Just like its predecessor, the game features its titular character armed with nothing more than a magic marker, using its powers to face off against a mustachioed villain. This time around, Max's magic marker receives an upgrade, granting him the ability to draw vines, branches, water jets and fireball arcs to help guide him in his quest to save his brother, while avoiding a number of grisly deaths and frustrating traps along the way.
Max is one gorgeous game, from the moment I started until the credits rolled I was in awe of how good looking Press Play's little downloadable title turned out. As you play through, you'll feel as though you're playing a Pixar movie brought to life.
I had a hard time sorting out whether this was a good or bad thing. The puzzles had me scratching me head, but ultimately the sense of satisfaction from solving a difficult puzzle outweighed the frustration I felt beforehand.
The music, while not awful, is largely forgettable. There's nothing here that'll really have you humming or tapping your toes. During the majority of my play through I found myself tuning the soundtrack out almost entirely.
A Mario game Max is not. Movement isn't great, but it doesn't hinder enjoyment of the game as sections that require precise and quick movement are few and far between. Drawing controls are about as good as they can be on a console that doesn't offer touch-based input.
During my time playing through MtCoB, I found that pretty much every sequence involving Max having to run from an enemy resulted in numerous deaths. Players are often required to think on their toes while simultaneously being hindered by the game's slow moving drawing mechanic. Not fun.
All in all, MtCoB is a fun game with a few frustrating quirks. The controls aren't the tightest, but it also isn't a game designed to be run at a fast pace, with puzzles that encourage the player to sit and think about their next move before jumping headlong into things. MtCoB offers a fresh take on an age-old genre, which is an accomplishment in and of itself. The fact that it manages to look gorgeous while pulling it off doesn't hurt, either.