Xbox One owners have been able to experience the story of Max, his brother Felix and the evil Mustacho since the end of last year but now, nearly six months on, Microsoft Studios and Press Play have got 360 gamers covered.
A cinematic sidescrolling platformer, Max comes home one day to find his younger brother Felix playing in his room, with his toys. Anyone with a sibling knows that this is a big no no and so Max jumps onto his laptop to find a way of ridding himself of his troubles, stumbling across a portal spell that whisks poor Felix away forever more. Realising the trouble he could be in (and no doubt feeling bad for putting Felix in danger), Max jumps through the portal in order to save him….and it is from there that he eventually makes his way to Mustachos castle to save Felix.
But a young boy thrust into a strange magical world would no doubt flounder unless he had a little help along the way. Thankfully Max stumbles upon an old lady who gives him a magic marker infused with magical powers and it’s this marker that makes Max: The Curse of Brotherhood stand out from the crowd, turning it from a standard scrolling platformer into something you have to think about a little more.
There aren’t an awful lot of enemies standing in Max’s way, although what are there are well thought out, but instead the challenge of the game comes by finding a safe route through the world ahead, and this is where the magic marker comes in with Max able to create earth mounds, tree branches, swinging vines, water plumes and fireballs to his hearts content. Each of these creations will help Max in his quest to save Felix and how you decide to combine these powers is up to you. Whilst many of the puzzles have one direct route to completion, the later levels (and harder puzzles) allow you to mix and match different powers and to a certain extent, give a little variation in how you get past the obstacle in front of you. Any power is activated by pressing down the right trigger and whilst I would have prefered to have been able to use the right stick to move the marker on screen (as opposed to the left stick that also controls Max), once you get used to the controls, they work very well indeed, even if they do sometimes get a little confusing on the faster paced sections.
You must also remember that what you can create, you can also destroy and for your first playthrough at least, you’ll find yourself trying all manner of ideas to progress. Admittedly though, once you have played through the game once, you’ll fly through it on any subsequent ‘collectable’ playthroughs. But with a fair old number of Amulet pieces and ‘Mustacho Eyes’ to find, you’ll no doubt be going back through the game multiple times in order to 100% complete the achievements. I’ve played the game numerous times on Xbox One (and watched the kids have great fun in playing it even more than that) but I still found Max on 360 to be highly enjoyable, albeit a little shorter than I would have liked. This is no doubt solely down to the fact I knew my way through the majority of puzzles with very little to test me, and without previous run throughs, it’ll most probably take you around 6 hours or so to complete fully.
It is, for all intents and purposes, the exact same game as that found on Xbox One and both gameplay wise and graphically you’d be hard pressed to tell any difference between the two versions. James reviewed it when the game first dropped on Xbox One and gave it a decent 4 out of 5 mentioning that it was a ‘solid puzzle game and potentially my joint favourite downloadable title (XBLA and Xbox One) of 2013.’ Well, 2014 is now here and I’m tending to agree with him in regards to the 360 version. There are less achievements points on offer than on its Xbox One sibling, I found a couple of very slight niggles when attempting to climb onto vines and experienced an occasional stutter or two, but other than that, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a bright 2GB of platforming perfection, all held together with more than a delightful twist.
It would have been nice to see it come in under a tenner, but for an extra couple of quid more, you’ll be amazed at what you find. Buy it!