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Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Adam Riley 19.01.2018 5

Review for Max: The Curse of Brotherhood on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 had high hopes for Max after his debut adventure, Max & the Magic Marker graced WiiWare back in 2010. Press Play's inventive platform title relied on the Wii Remote to allow gamers to draw anything that could help Max traverse various stages, and it all worked sublimely. It was hoped that Max might eventually end up featuring as a guest star in other games, but after muted ports to other formats (DS included), all went quiet on the Max front. Then an Xbox One exclusive sequel, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, finally arrived at the end of 2013, followed by a PC version the year after (which Cubed3 reviewed here). Things started to look up when 2017 saw the game come to PlayStation 4, and it seemed like just a matter of time before Switch got in on the action. After all, the touch screen of the system is perfect for it. On 21st December, Nintendo fans' wishes were granted…

Max makes a mistake by reading an incantation aloud after being frustrated with his brother, Felix, and accidentally opens a portal, allowing one of the gruesome creatures controlled by an evil lord, Mustacho, to claim his sibling, dragging him through for whatever nefarious plans he has. Thus begins what is a rather non-stop romp through seven chapters filled with increasingly difficult challenges and, thankfully, plenty of auto-checkpoints within close proximity of each other. Filled with thrills and spills, Max: Curse of the Brotherhood does cause a bit of frustration in the latter stages, but never to the point where players will want to give up. Instead, that 'frustration' is the healthy kind, and stems from how after hand-holding gamers in the early levels, breezing through with ease, witnessing the many 'wow' moments thanks to the ingenuity of stage creation, it then goes on to prove to be a source of great challenge when the difficulty of tasks ramps up, and the complexity of combination moves are upped.

Some more casual gamers may grow tired of needing to learn the layout of some sections in order to survive - especially the chase situations that are present and will see deaths galore - but most hardened platform fans will likely not give up until they crack the nut, thriving under the pressure. Flashbulb / Press Play has taken the creativity of Max & the Magic Marker and refined it to remove some of the drawing issues people may have faced when attempting to scribble free-style with the Wii Remote in the past. What is left is more of a honed experience, with key indicators on the screen for where drawing can take place, and what type of feature can be sketched to aide Max's progression.

Screenshot for Max: The Curse of Brotherhood on Nintendo Switch

Max's Magic Marker receives upgrades along the way, so after initially being able to merely raise platforms to reach new areas and block off monsters, he soon gains the ability to grow branches to clamber onto and use as weights for switches, extend vines to swing from or connect to other structures and shuffle across, control the flow of water to carry objects along or launch Max to new heights, and even shoot fireballs - later on using various combinations of all these, whilst also dealing with oncoming enemies, collapsing platforms, and overcoming treacherous death-filled voids.

It is highly inventive throughout, and works very well with the touch screen when navigating the levels, out-witting enemies, and finding the various hidden extras carefully dotted around. There are certain times where the touch screen does not register as quickly as hoped, and the delay causes untimely falls or enemies to crush Max, but the majority of the time it is very good indeed, working exactly how it should.

For those that prefer to play on the big screen, as mentioned in the PlayStation 4 review, the pad controls of the Magic Marker are a little more clunky, but this is a hangover from when Press Play was acquired to be part of Microsoft Game Studios and The Curse of Brotherhood was an Xbox exclusive, forcing the team to make the most of the control system available. As some will know now, Microsoft closed the innovative developer, but thankfully the core team re-formed as Flashbulb Games, and seemingly re-acquired the license. Could it spell a return for Max and the Magic Marker further down the line? Hopefully!

Screenshot for Max: The Curse of Brotherhood on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a triumph in design, both in terms of how stages are crafted and the way the smart puzzles contained within each world are put together. Held back by its control scheme in the past, the shackles have now been removed, making this the superlative edition thanks to the excellent touch screen system now employed on Nintendo Switch, leaving Cubed3 now hungry for an upgraded version of Max & the Magic Marker in the future.

Developer

Flashbulb Games

Publisher

Flashbulb Games

Genre

2D Platformer

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

I know Ofisil liked this, and Thom didn't... Interesting to see such different opinions. Personally, I've been glued to my Switch playing this since Christmas on and off. Very addictive and challenging!

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Well, I certainly enjoyed it, and I even liked the gamepad controls. My only gripe with this, otherwise, entertaining game, was it's insanely low replay value...

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

What I should have done is try the controller support first and then move to touch screen. The other way round just seemed unintuitive. The touch support is perfect for this. Could you draw using the mouse in the PC version?

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

I'm usually a keyboard/mouse kind of guy, but this perfect with the gamepad's analogue sticks

A lot of quotes in the Internet are attributed to the wrong person
                                -Georgios Karaiskakis

Did you manage to collect all the eyes and hidden treasure parts? I think I missed 3 eyes and about 5 pieces of treasure in the end. Some were quite well hidden, others it was just me being rubbish Smilie

Adam Riley [ Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited ]
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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