Published on January 15th, 2018 | by Dad0
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
This weekend I had the fun of playing Max: The Curse of Brotherhood by Flashbulb Games alongside my children. I wasn’t too sure what it would be like however I was pleasantly surprised with what I found.
The game begins with an awesome animated intro movie whereby Max arrives home to find his younger brother Felix, playing with his favourite toys. Max is upset by what he sees and searches the internet for advice on how to get rid of his annoying brother. (I’m pretty sure if I check the internet history here that my sons have probably googled this at some point!) On the internet Max stumbles across a spell that he recites to make his brother disappear. Low and behold a portal opens in the bedroom and Felix is taken by a ghastly monster. On a plot very similar to the opening scenes of the awesome movie “Labyrinth”, Max begins to freak out and realises that he has made a mistake. Cue Max diving into the portal after his brother however there is no David Bowie in tight lycra in sight.
Armed with a crazy magical marker pen, Max begins his side-scroller journey through a world thwart with traps, puzzles, monsters and ledges. Each colourful level has the goal of Max reaching the end, hopefully in one piece, as his quest to reach his brother continues. Max begins with jumping, sliding and using vines to swing across gaps below him however you are soon introduced to Max’s number one gadget, his marker pen.
By using the magical marker pen at set locations, Max can construct towers of mud, vines and jets of water to navigate safely through a puzzle such as reaching a ledge or getting past a monster. As you use the marker pen, the amount of power within the pen visibly decreases and once it has depleted the power cannot be used again until you remove your construction. I found the game fairly forgiving with both myself and the kids being caught by monsters and missing jumps countless times. There are 22 levels in all with a few levels where you are chased by a large monster and this demands quick reactions to make each jump or a quick draw with the pen to raise a platform of dirt and progress through. If you get caught you have to start that part again!
Some of the controls can be a little finicky at times when being chased such as when trying to crouch to pass through a tight gap or when jumping from cliff top to cliff top. There were moments that we just could not get the positioning right of the analogue sticks and inevitably we were caught by the monster. As a result you may find what should be a simple matter of a leap taking you several attempts to perfect!
Puzzlewise they start of fairly simple such as raising a platform of mud to get to another ledge but later on they get slightly more tricky with a lot of thought required as to how to use a few different editable features to get to where you need to be. One such puzzle comprised of three different mounds of dirt that needed me to go so far with them before leaping across and breaking them to then construct them again but this time higher. Or well and good I hear you say, try doing that when being chased by a giant monster!
We all enjoyed the animated intro to Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and the cartoon-like graphics continue on through the levels. While they may not always be the best textures it didn’t detract from the gameplay and to be honest at times you are thinking so fast that you haven’t got time to pause and take in the view! One of the levels takes place in pitch black darkness where you only have the glow of your marker pen to guide you. The darkness forces you to play cautiously as to look out for traps and monsters and makes the gameplay pretty awesome!
The soundtrack is bright and uplifting straight from a children’s cartoon and changes with the level, the desert level for example has distinct trumpets making it sound almost a Mexican wilderness. Sound effects of the terrain being constructed and destroyed, monsters groaning and max shouting “Oh no!” while falling and “woah” by balancing on a mud column mean that the game is full of noises, keeping little ones and possible big ones amused while playing. There is a lot of humour thrown into the storyline and lots of little cheeky one liners, especially from Max!
Max The Curse of the brotherhood is a family fun platform game which is possibly better suited for children however they will probably need adult help at certain times with particular puzzles and calming down their frustrations from some of the dodgy game mechanics and controls. That aside, we had fun trying to figure out how to get past certain obstacles and spent some good time together both laughing and getting annoyed when the monster caught us for the 10th time on a level.
Max: The Curse of the Brotherhood is available on PS4, Xbox1, Nintendo Switch and PC.