Home Reviews Max The Curse of Brotherhood – Xbox One Review

Max The Curse of Brotherhood – Xbox One Review


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Over the festive season, Press Play brought us a side scrolling platform game that has a strong puzzler element, named Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for the Xbox One as a downloadable title. Can this re-imagining of the original Max game, which never made it to Xbox consoles, be a hit with the backing of the publisher Microsoft Studios?

Max is just an average kid that happens to have a younger brother, Felix, who just won’t stop being annoying and this forces Max to search the internet to find a way to get rid of this annoyance. Unfortunately this leads to reciting an incantation that sucks poor Felix into another world via a portal. Max feels awful and follows through the hole to try to save Felix who is now in the hands of an enormous blue monster that’s taking him to the, not so easy on the eyes (see picture below), evil genius Mustacho who wants to take his youthful energy.


You must be thinking, how on earth can a child not only scale a world of high ledges and big gaps but also slip by a small selection of evil beings? With a marker pen of course.  Not just any marker though as this has become magical thanks to an old lady who will guide you along the way in spirit. Amongst the abilities it possesses are rising mounds of earth, growing branches and vine ropes just to name a few.

Each of the levels in the seven chapters have an inconsistent pace to them where one minute you need to run for your life and make quick decisions that rely on decent reactions. The next minute you are stuck in a situation where deep thought and planning is the only way to solve the problem at hand. It kept me on my toes not really knowing what would be round the next corner (or on the next bit of the screen).

Back to the marker pen which has a huge part to play, and once activated using the trigger it will show you the locations that you can use it but how you use it is up to you. Initially you will only have the mounds of earth to manipulate and it stretches out the other four abilities across the game which I felt added a breath of fresh air at the right times.


Maybe you want to create a branch and then chop it off for another use, that’s entirely your call. I believe there are a few ways to solve all the conundrums you face so you don’t have to be overly precise with the marker and later on you will end up combining multiple abilities to ensure a safe movement for Max. They do get a little more complicated once more abilities get involved, but once you realise that if you chop a branch off, raise it up on a mound and then attach a vine to it, you will find yourself finally getting up onto that ledge. It’s simple… honest.

I mentioned enemies earlier; they are few and far between throughout the story so when a few do pop up it’s a welcome change. From spiky shelled critters to those that are ogre shaped, I don’t think a kid could take them on single-handedly and neither do Press Play as you must either just avoid them or trick them into traps. This suits me as I wasn’t looking for much conflict; I just wanted an adventure with puzzles.

One thing I did notice was the environments and the general feel of the game became darker the further into the story you get and the closer to Mustacho you were which added a dose of intensity, whilst still having a little humour in the cutscenes. Looking back though there wasn’t enough cutscenes and that partly hindered the story therefore I often lost track of the actual reason I was swinging across gaps like a young Indiana Jones.

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People often wonder about replay-ability, despite a reasonable 6-8 hours campaign, is there any reason to load up a level once more? There certainly is if you want all the collectibles as even when I was extremely thorough I still missed a handful of all-seeing eyes and amulet pieces. Just getting to these was a whole other task, sometimes it’d take you down another route or tracking back a bit.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood lacked on the story for me personally but struck every chord in my mind when it came to well structured puzzles. The marker pen seemed silly at first; however when more powers were added it became an awesome tool that I’m sure will be powered by Kinect in any sequel. For £11.99 I’d say it’s not really a bargain nor is it expensive, you get what you pay for and that’s a solid puzzle game and potentially my joint favourite downloadable title (XBLA and Xbox One) of 2013.

DRAFT 4 TXH Rating

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