Review – Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood

You’ve played all the launch games for Xbox One to death and now you’re thinking ahead to Titanfall and Watch_Dogs. You can only slay so many zombies, race around the Top Gear test track and ruin your Kill/Death ratio (well, speaking for myself anyway) so many times before needing a new title to tie you over until the spring releases.

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While Sony have made a pretty big deal out of their opening indie titles over on the Playstation Network sadly the Xbox Live indie titles have been slow out of the box. One colourful little title can be found lurking in the new Marketplace however, Max and The Curse of the Brotherhood.

This isn’t the first time gamers have had chance to play as our young protagonist, having appeared in Max and The Magic Marker. Both titles were created by the studio Press Play. Mat (of Tom and Mat Attacks, our weekly podcast) interviewed the team at Press Play about both games, of which you can listen to here.

After a launch line up comprising of plenty of blood, guts and gore it has to be said really refreshing to boot up a game with vibrant visuals with a touch of simple child-like humour. I really liked the animation style of Max and the environments look superb. It feels like you’re playing in a world which you’d like to discover further by walking into the backdrops. You can’t of course, as this is at core a platform title, requiring you to traverse each of the game’s multiple chapters by clearing puzzles and various falling platforms in a traditional left-to-right side scrolling title. in an effort to save Max’s younger brother.

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Don’t be fooled however by its charm and visual quality. A platformer it maybe but it is by far at times a challenge. Make no mistake you’ll find yourself scratching your head after dying for the 100th time when faced with a number of enemies, pitfalls and generally hard to reach places to defeat. Help is at hand, as Max can use his Magic Marker (which ‘powers up’ as the story progresses) to create vines and earth pillars for example. Timing can during some of these puzzles be imperative, a second too slow and you may find yourself respawning at a checkpoint which thankfully are well placed. If you are after a title that gives you require help then this isn’t the game for you, as it will only give you the smallest of hints at key moments of the game and in many cases it’ll give you no help at all. Great for making the little grey cells work overtime, but not so great for those who prefer a more free flowing experience.

While for the most part the controls work well I did find at times that, especially with the placement and size of some of the obstacles that Max maybe missing some precision regarding his movement and jumping. His marker however, although you may find yourself making a few mis-clicks and frustrations early on, once mastered works a treat. I admit after an hour or so I did wonder if the game would have been better suited without the marker, but as you gain more and more use out of it you soon begin to realize it does in fact add to the overall enjoyable experience.

And it is an enjoyable experience. Perhaps its because it has been a while since I’ve played a challenging platformer but for whatever reason it took me some time to fully enjoy the Curse of the Brotherhood. By the time I’d finished playing it however I was hooked by its charm, and although at times I did almost rage at certain puzzles nothing beats the eureka feeling of progression. Taking advantage of one of the Xbox One’s features you’ll also notice at times the game will automatically record a number of the successfully negotiated puzzles for you to re-enjoy at a later date.

A challenging, visual treat that offers something vastly different than the initial launch line up of games.

Max: Curse of the Brotherhood is avaliable to purchase on the Xbox One (coming to Xbox 360 at a later date). Digital only. Price at time of posting £11.99

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