Diversity is the word the seemed to define the Xbox One launch line-up; It essentially had everything that every type of gamer would enjoy. There was one genre that was not utilised on launch day and that was 2D platformer of puzzle games. That’s when Press Play come into play. Following up on the hit of Max and the Magic Marker, the team have gone bigger than ever and have decided to tackle the new Xbox One. How does the charming aesthetic handle and play on the Xbox One?
In the event that you may have never heard of Press Play or Max, you essentially play a young ginger kid (I mention ginger simply because I share those same genres and could have done with other ginger heroes growing up, always being relegated to the Chuckie Pickles of the group), and he has a special tool at his disposal: a magic marker. This marker is used in the game to affect the environment around him is specific ways. This is the crux of the game and keeps it from being just another slow-paced platformer.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood stars Max who, at the beginning of the game, is sick of his younger brother Felix and searches online to find a way to get rid of him. Unfortunately for Max though, that’s exactly what happens when a portal opens and takes Felix away. Before it closes, Max jumps in to get his little brother back.
Combat in Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is virtually non-existant. That doesn’t mean there’s nothing in the game that wants to claim a young child’s life. Monster, carnivorous plants, and other nasties inhabit the game with a sole purpose to stop Max on his quest to save his brother.
The combat is rather simple and exactly what you expect. Max’s jump is slightly more floaty in an aim to be more forgiving by allowing the player to adjust more than other games. The real challenge of the game comes from utilising the margic marker to overcome the hazards that are placed throughout the world.
In the beginning you can only manipulate rocks to create platforms but as the game progresses, you can create branches, vines and more in order to make it form one end of the screen to the other. Despite the game clearly having an art style that is aimed at a younger audience, any player will find some difficult scenarios.
Each level has eyes that are like weeds strewn through each level that act at the games collectibles. These are all optional and will require you to go out of your way most of the time in order to obtain them. Some of them needs quite a bit of thinking and will certainly stump you from time to time.
This difficulty in the gameplay does have a major pro and con. Due to its surprising difficult nature in parts, more mature gamers can actually get quite a bit of enjoyment out of the puzzles and genuinely lovely visuals on display. However, younger people may feel stuck in parts and may lose interest rather quickly. I may be wrong though and my age is starting to catch up to me but I found myself stuck for 10 minutes in some instances and almost lost interest, younger people may not try for that long.
Should you stay with the game however, you will be rewarded with a rather fun game than unfortunately plays it safe with its defining feature: the magic marker. It’s only at the very end of the game do the developers show the use of the marker as true potential of what the game could bring in should they do a sequel. It feels quite safe and that’s actually good enough for now.