Game Info:

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
Developed by: Press Play, Stage Clear Studios, Flashbulb Games
Published by: Wired Productions Ltd
Release date: December 21, 2017
Available on: PS4, Switch, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
Genre: Puzzle platformer
Number of players: Single-player
ESRB Rating: E 10+ for Fantasy Violence, Mild Language
Price: $19.99
(Amazon Affiliate Link)

Thank you Wired Productions Ltd for sending us this game to review!

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood was originally released in 2013 and was re-released on next-gen consoles in 2017. One of the biggest complaints about this game was the controls. Hopefully the Switch version resolves those issues. This is my first time playing it so I can’t compare the versions unfortunately. The story remains the same though.

Max is annoyed with his brother Felix and finds an incantation online that will make him disappear. He chants it and his brother is quickly whisked away. Immediately regretting his actions, Max jumps into the portal to save him. At first, Max doesn’t have any weapons but it doesn’t take long before his famous marker comes into play.

With his marker, Max can cause specially marked sections of the ground to form and collapse columns, branches, and vines. The last two abilities he’ll learn are controlling water flows and using gas to propel himself. There are equal parts of platforming and puzzle solving in this 2.5D game. You’ll have to move around blocks and work around enemies that cannot be touched due to spikes or poisonous gas they emit. Every level also has these big eyeballs on trees that Max has to uproot if he doesn’t want the evil mastermind Mustacho to keep spying on him. There are seventy-five eyeballs to remove and eighteen amulet pieces to collect through the seven chapters and twenty levels in this game.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood

Strong Points: Lovely visuals; fun gameplay
Weak Points: Some of the obstacles require more luck than skill to overcome
Moral Warnings: Cartoon violence; sibling rivalry; gross enemies; Max is guided by a spirit lady

The only replayability this game has to offer is to collect eyeballs and pendant pieces you may have missed in previous levels. In all honesty I was happy enough to get through the levels and have no intention of going back.

Though the 3D Pixar-like visuals are charming, it doesn’t take long for frustration to set in as you try multiple times to get the drawing physics to cooperate only to die quickly after and go through the drawing puzzle all over again. When the puzzles are simple the drawing mechanics work really well. That’s not always the case though and there are many drawing puzzles that have to be solved during action sequences where Max has to keep moving or die. Sometimes the game will slow down time and give you time to draw, but there are some instances where you have to draw on the go and those are annoying.

If you’re not a fan of quick time events you will not enjoy this game at all. There are more quick time events than you can shake a hand-drawn stick at! There are some boss-like creatures or just elements in general that Max has to flee from. Sometimes there is a logical jumping pattern and other times it seems that you have to preemptively jump when it doesn’t make sense to do so in order to succeed. Thankfully you have an infinite amount of lives and the amount of checkpoints are pretty generous.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 70%
Gameplay - 12/20
Graphics - 9/10
Sound - 7/10
Stability - 5/5
Controls - 2/5

Morality Score - 96%
Violence - 8/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 8.5/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10
+3 for promoting good family values

The sound effects are good and the voice acting for all of the characters is well done. With some of the screams and shrieks from Max I really felt guilty for accidentally killing him.

From a moral standpoint, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is pretty clean. There is some cartoon-like violence, but no blood or gore. Though the ESRB mentions mild language (without examples), I haven’t come across anything concerning. During Max’s journey he is guided by a spirit lady that teaches him how to obtain and use his marker abilities. Many of the marker abilities are acquired in ancient temples and ruins. On a positive note, I like the theme of forgiveness and brotherly love that this game promotes.

In the end, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a cute game that is flawed by too many quick time events and complicated drawing puzzles. I only enjoyed the game in short spurts and it felt like a chore to complete the levels at times. If you see the game on sale it may be worth picking up.

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Cheryl Gress

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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