Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, by Press Play, is a title that took me by surprise as I thought it would just be a nice little “arcade” title to pass the time between now and the launch of more AAA titles coming down the pipe line next year. However, I was completely wrong in making that brash judgement.  Let me tell you why.

For starters, I loved the graphical style of the characters within the game as they reminded me of a cross of Jimmy Neutron with a bit of Wallace and Grommit.  The rest of the graphics pertaining to the level design and the background are also notable and absolutely beautiful, ranging from huge cliffs, dark caverns, lush exotic jungles, dangerous lava filled caves and even perilous waterfalls.  Everything just fits together like a puzzle perfected as the backgrounds, structures, and characters interact together to form this amazing world that Max and Felix have been thrust into. The cut scenes, mostly of Max and Felix interacting along with some of the villain Mustacho, are wonderfully voice acted and complete the presentation of the game.

Max TCoB Screen (7)

Now, you have probably figured from the title that Max is someone fairly important and indeed he holds the role of our young reluctant hero. Reluctant considering he got mad at his little brother Felix one day for playing with his toys and decided to look up a spell on the internet to get rid of him. When he cast the spell to make his brother disappear it actually worked and Max, realizing his big mistake, jumped into the portal his little brother was pulled into. As he opens up his eyes in this new world, he finds his brother dangling from the grasp of a huge monster.  Max runs after the creature, but being only a little boy there isn’t a whole lot he can do to get his brother until he runs into a wise old woman’s spirit.  This wise old woman asks Max for a weapon to imbue herself into in order to give Max powers to help rescue Felix.  All Max has with him is a magic marker which, to the delight of the old woman, is perfect for the job. This then unlocks the gameplay mechanics to help Max solve the puzzles before him and to combat the enemies that stand in his way to get to his brother, Felix. The marker itself starts off with the basic power of using it to raise rock from the ground upwards to form stepping stones, stairs or ledges to reach hard to reach places. As you progress through the story, however, you gain additional powers to your marker that unlock other abilities to form branches, vines, water spouts and projectile type weapons. All of these abilities can be used at certain points in a level and are highlighted by a colour specific to their affinity (green, blue, purple, etc.)

Max TCoB Screen (2)

It is really quite ingenious how each ability is used to solve puzzles. As a new ability is introduced, it is then combined with all the other abilities you have already learned to make you rethink how to solve the puzzles presented. In a lot of cases, you really do have to think outside of the box to figure what out what you have to do to bypass certain areas. Not to mention the medallions and watching eyes that are scattered throughout the levels that can be captured for you “completionists” out there. These items are a whole lot more challenging to get, but once you get them the task is complete as even if you die shortly afterwards you don’t have to redo that puzzle.  This is one aspect I didn’t like about the game; that I could sacrifice myself to jump for an eye or a medallion piece and fall to my death shortly afterwards while it would still count as a collection. If I couldn’t get to the item without surviving then I shouldn’t be rewarded with it, but, in the end that is only a minor thing.

Combat is quite rare in this game and usually more of Max running away and using the environment to trick or lure the enemies into a trap so that Max could progress through the level. In all of the boss battles, it is really about learning the patterns of the boss and going through the actions needed to defeat them. I won’t spoil it for you, but the final boss (Mustacho) is a real pain in the butt and I advise you to take your time and look everywhere for ways to defeat him.

What I really loved about this game is that it was challenging enough that I would be fooled a few times, but with a bit of perseverance I was able to solve the puzzles before without going into a rage-quit moment. The presentation was beautiful and the overall story and how it was played out brought an emotional connection between myself and the two brothers. I often saw my two sons in the characters which brought some chuckles and teary moments alike as I saw their interactions.  You will surely not be disappointed with Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.

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About the Author

John has been a gamer for years and can often be heard reminiscing of the old days playing the Nintendo family of systems with his buddies growing up. With a bustling family of five, finding time to game is often tricky but luckily his family shares his passion for gaming. John is active in several gaming communities and can be found on Twitter and Xbox Live as JohnnyXeo.