Review: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (PS4)

Review: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (PS4)

Platforms:

  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • Xbox 360
  • Nintendo Switch
  • PC

Platform/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • Move None
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Title: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
Format: Blu-ray Disc / PSN (2.7 GB)
Release Date: November 8, 2017
Publisher: Wired Productions
Developer: Flashbulb Games
Original MSRP: $14.99 (US), €19.99 (EU), £19.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
PEGI: 12
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

You might recognize the protagonist here from an older and slightly different platformer called Max & the Magic Marker that made the player draw in and manipulate the gameworld.

In Max: The Curse of Brotherhood our little hero comes home from school and finds his brother Felix has messed up his room, and so in anger, Max turns on his laptop and searches for “How to make your brother disappear.”

Luckily the search results aren’t macabre or too nefarious, but there is a spell that surprisingly works and banishes his brother to a mysterious and dangerous other world.

Gameplay:
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a nicely crafted platformer that slowly incorporates the Magic Marker gameplay elements so as not to overwhelm. I found the puzzles cleverly integrate each technique and are all well thought out and imaginative, especially toward the end of the game.

Early on there’s just some of the usual running, jumping, swinging, and climbing that we, as gamers, are all used to as you chase the large monster holding the frightened brother. Things then take a turn for the worse and the journey becomes much longer and more harrowing and this is where the magical Magic Marker comes into play.

Sadly you cannot draw anywhere or anything on the screen, you can only raise and erase small platforms and eventually create branches and vines, all from set points in the game which might allow access to higher areas or maneuver a docile creature into an advantageous spot. A few occasions call for some quick penmanship to stop little Max from falling to his death or temporarily holding off the pursuit of a strange and deadly creature.

With the press and hold of R2, Max flings the marker out and you can move it anywhere you wish. As soon as you begin to draw, depending on the situation, time slows, which is handy if you need to frantically draw a vine for him to grab.

There are a ton of nasty Evil Eyes to pluck which causes them to wither and die, along with about sixteen Amulet Pieces to find and I almost got them all before defeating the final boss. Luckily, you can revisit any level and chapter to grab the last few remaining things.

With plenty of checkpoints and a few silly mistakes on my part I managed to get through the game in about nine to ten hours. I was happy to find that each collectible, once recovered, remains that way even if you die moments later and have to retrace a few steps. Getting the Platinum will take a little longer but the last few trinkets seem quite manageable.

Visuals:
The opening cinematic for Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is excellent and the graphics are good if a little dated in some spots. This is another title that would be fantastic in 3D, especially considering the backgrounds and the distinct platform layer.

I especially like the big cinematic moments, of which there are many, and my favorite has to be the final fight. The lighting and water effects are great and I can find very little to fault in this department.

You might notice that I only captured some images from the first area. That is in part because I hate spoilers and some of my other images ruined a few surprises. Plus I’m trying to cut back on my Share button addiction.

Audio:
This game has some great voice work and plenty of exciting music to keep that adrenaline pumping as poor Max slides down slopes, runs from huge beasts, and flies through the air. I would have liked more cutscenes and chatter among the characters because there’s no such thing as too much of a good thing.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is one player only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a fantastic 2.5D cinematic platformer with great puzzles and excellent Magic Marker mechanics that never let up until the brilliant end. I really hope we get to see more adventures with Max and the despicable villain.

It might look a little dated and rough in a few spots but don’t let that put you off as this is a great experience that deserves a spot in your library.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Wii U, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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