Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was a sequel to Press Play’s Max & the Magic Marker. Originally released for the Xbox One and Xbox 360, Flashbulb Games has taken this spectacular game and brought it to the PlayStation 4. Now PlayStation players can experience this fun puzzle-platformer.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood does a lot of things right and very little things wrong. Yet another game running on the Unity engine, Max looks great. The 2.5D platformer is full of stunning environments that do a great job of utilizing lighting effects and physics to bring the game world to life. Swinging from ropes with a giant monster crushing every platform in its wake right on your tail gives the levels life while creating a sense of urgency. When there isn’t an excuse to move as fast as you can the puzzles do a good job of using lighting and physics to make the player look at things in a different way.
The puzzles are centered around the player using a literal “magic” marker to manipulate the environment. Most of it is centered around bending natural elements like rocks, vines, trees, and water to get from point A to point B. However, there is a more offensive skill that comes later on in the game. For the most part, though, Max isn’t offensive at all. Enemies that do appear in the level need to be avoided or dealt with by manipulating the environment in a way that maintains obstacles between them and Max, or forcing the enemy to be taken out by an environmental hazard via pit, fire, lava, smashing, etc. Max is a vulnerable fellow at the young age of 8 or so. His vulnerability allows for some puzzles to be simple while maintaining a fun factor as timing since is just as important as knowing where to go next.
The levels are well designed and match by equally impressive controls. Using a controller with sticks didn’t feel like it was impossible to craft exactly what I needed with Max’s “magic” marker. This is important as you will be crafting some makeshift items in order to progress. It sounds complicated, but the levels are designed with a good amount of pacing that making the appropriate action seems instinctive. There are a few puzzles that will cause even the most seasoned of gamer scratch their head. Some of the puzzles can seem a bit repetitive when the pacing gets thrown into overdrive by either a boss chasing you or being forced to do slow-motion changes that look pretty cool. If it weren’t for the insanely short load times these forced reactionary parts would be kind of annoying, but Max: The Curse of Brotherhood holds itself together through scene changes and a good mix of puzzles.
Max is pulled into another strange dimension in the hopes of finding his younger brother he wished away on spell. It’s nothing new to the platform genre, but there is context given to the powers of the “magic” marker. It’s a game easily enjoyed by all ages. Older gamers can rejoice in the challenge of the puzzles, and the young ones will love the setting. The characters are well voice acted with Max giving funny commentary on the absurdity before him.
Overall, games like these are signs that you don’t have to shoot something to have fun. Although shooting things is fun (the aforementioned “offensive” capabilities of Max). Solid controls and puzzles will always mean a good platformer that anyone can enjoy. So Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a 9/10.
Here is Max: The Curse of Brotherhood Trailer:
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