Publisher: Press Play
Price: $15
Where to get it: Xbox Live Marketplace
Who it’s good for: Fans of Limbo or puzzle games that require quick thinking.
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Score: 8/10

The first thing that anyone who plays Max: The Curse of Brotherhood will see is that it’s very reminiscent of the 2010 indie hit Limbo. Instead of the main character’s sister being kidnapped it’s this protagonist’s kid brother. The giant spider in Limbo is replaced by huge monster that looks like the one from the Zicam cold medicine commercial. As a sequel to the 2010 mobile hit Max & Magic Marker, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood spins an impressive web of great graphics, animation and a fun time.

Here's the Zicam commercial (monster shows up around the :56 mark):

Now check out the Max: The Curse of Brotherhood trailer:

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That’s not to say that Max is a straight copy, it has a lot going for it. For one, the visuals are great. The characters are three-dimensional with a beautiful mix of bright 3D and two-dimensional background elements. As a side scroller, it does a lot as far as keeping the eyes entertained. The main set of moves is running, jumping, crawling and climbing but in addition to all of that, Max can also use a magic marker to manipulate the landscape around him to aid in solving puzzles. Some of these puzzles can be real brain busters, including tests in timing with complex controller handling. That can sometimes be frustrating as gameplay can often switch speeds and catch the player off guard. Earlier in the game, Max must slide down a number of cliffs while jumping over the gaps. At the last one, a slow-motion scene triggers where the player must use the magic marker to draw a ledge to land on. Expect to die often trying to beat these types of puzzles and as the game progresses, there’s less time and more stuff to draw. Unfortunately, a lot of the drawing demands precise shapes and angles which isn’t that easy to do with the Xbox One’s analog sticks. The trick here is to not get too invested as it’s easy to rage when things don’t go well.

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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is still a fun game and looks good. While the drawing mechanics could use some work, it’s not a title that gets boring quickly. There’s a great deal to figure out and it’s satisfying when they’re completed. For $15, Max’s new adventure is a  good deal for anyone looking for a video game that doesn’t require too much work to enjoy.

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