One day after school, Max comes home to find his little brother Felix in his room playing with Max’s toys. Disgusted, Max does an Internet search on ‘Giggle’ to find a way to get rid of his brother. He finds a magic spell, but when he reads it aloud, to his surprise it actually works and a dimensional portal opens up and a monster grabs Felix and whisks him away. Realizing he had done something wrong, Max leaps into the portal to save his brother and winds up in a whole new world. Armed with only his wits and a special magic marker, Max must explore this new land and rescue his sibling. Max – The Curse of Brotherhood is a sequel to Max and the Magic Marker and is available to download on PC and Microsoft game consoles (reviewed on 360 here).
The game is part 2-D platformer and part physics-based puzzler. Max can run, jump, and climb and swing on vines. But this new world is filled with enemies and traps, and he won’t be able to survive on his own. Luckily, early on in the game the magic marker in his backpack inherits special powers and Max can now draw pillars to hop on, branches and vines to climb, and water spouts to help him avoid obstacles. Just hold down the right trigger on the controller and you’ll move around the marker on the screen instead of Max.
There are highlighted areas that tell you where you can use your magic marker to draw things. You can also erase them, too. Since the puzzles are mostly physics-based, you’ll be mostly interacting with objects to get them to move or fall into place. For instance, you may have to draw a branch in a circle, then erase the end of it so it falls and rolls where you need it to. Or you may need to draw a branch, then make a pillar rise up to create a bridge. There are also hidden secrets and items to find in every stage if you veer off the beaten path.
Aside from the clever puzzles, the best part about this game is the graphics. They look almost Pixar quality, even during gameplay. But there are some problems, too. Since the game is physics-based, sometimes finding a solution to a puzzle won’t work if you’re slightly off in your drawing. Controls can be a little floaty at times, and also a bit cumbersome to have to hold down the trigger button to use your magic marker. This kind of game would be better suited to a console that has a touch screen, like the Wii U, 3DS, or tablet. It’s a minor quibble, but the game didn’t want to register some of the 360 Achievements I earned for it, either. But if you enjoy platformer games with plenty of puzzles, you may want to check this one out anyway.
Max – The Curse of Brotherhood is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Language. I don’t remember hearing any bad words in the game, but Max can get blasted, squashed, and smacked around. If he’s defeated he just falls over or hollers a bit, but that’s about it. Some kids might be slightly frightened at some of the enemies. Reading skill isn’t needed as there are plenty of picture cues and spoken voice to tell you how to play. But younger and less experienced gamers may need help with the tougher platform jumping areas and trickier puzzles. Luckily if you are defeated, there are plenty of checkpoints and unlimited tries. One last thing: I really don’t like the title of this game. Brothers aren’t a curse. I love all my little brothers and I wouldn’t be the game reviewer I am today without them!