Review by horror_spooky

Reviewed: 07/24/15

Curse of Mediocrity

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was one of the earliest games available for the Xbox One. It's a side-scrolling platformer with the gimmick that the main character has a magical marker that is used to solve simple environmental puzzles and challenges.

And that's really all there is to Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. As a platformer, it's rather slowly paced and kind of sluggish. The magic marker gimmick is very limited and only meant to be used in very specific ways, so it does little to elevate Max to anything beyond being a very simple, by the numbers platformer.

The magic marker can create vines, raise the ground, and other various things as each world is completed. The first few levels after obtaining a new marker power are usually the best bits, with the developers clearly having run out of ideas long before the next power is obtained. While one usually wouldn't want a game to be shorter, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood could have greatly benefited from a little trimming.

Combat is basically a non-factor, as Max has to mainly avoid the enemies he encounters throughout the game. This does result in some of the game's cleverer puzzles, but it also suffers from the fact that these challenges are meant to be tackled in a super specific manner, and trying to deviate from that will just result in failure.

The story of Max is fairly interesting. Max's little brother is sucked into another dimension, and Max has to go save him. This story is told through well-made cut-scenes that help give the game a lot of charm and world. Max himself, as a character, is endearing and his little quips and reactions to the environment around him never get annoying.

Thanks to the added power of Xbox One, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is quite a good looking game, for the most part. There's a lot of repeated textures and the frame rate occasionally dips a little too low, but otherwise it's quite gorgeous.

The voice acting is also well done, and goes well with the story. As for the rest of the audio presentation, the game's music is not too shabby either, though it stops short of becoming anything memorable.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood can be completed in a few hours. Afterwards, players can go after all the collectibles or try to unlock all the achievements, but the game is just not very compelling. It's well made, has good graphics, and a good presentation in general, but the platforming itself just feels so slow and most of its mechanics are uninspired and fail to really help Max carve out an identity of its own.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood may have been an acceptable experience in the first couple months of the Xbox One's lifespan, but at this point, it's far too average and mediocre to really recommend.

Rating: 6

Product Release: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (US, 12/20/13)

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