hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood

Max: Curse of Brotherhood should prove an endearing romp

1:00 PM on 12.19.2013 // Steven Hansen

Fitting for this, the year of Luigi

I quite liked the first Max and the Magic Marker. It was a cute little 2D game that let me draw things and crush enemies with them. I was surprised to hear of a sequel, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, especially as one of the only smaller games Microsoft trumped up at its E3 conference this year.

Of course, this isn't exactly a small game. In fact, it's practically an entirely different game, and not just because of the jump to 3D graphics. Gone are your freewheeling drawing powers, replaced by a series of contextually based drawing puzzles.

There's also a villain that looks like a cross between Destructoid's Conrad Zimmerman and some sort of decrepit slug monster.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood (Xbox One [previewed], Xbox 360)
Developer: Press Play
Publisher: Microsoft Studios
Release Date: December 20, 2013 (Xbox One)

Max opens with a clatymation-esque suburban facade. As Max skips steps up to his room, rendered in a more traditional 3D, he finds his younger brother being a nuisance, as younger brothers are wont to do. After Google-ing up a spell to make his brother scram, an otherworldly dimension rips open in the bedroom and his brother is yanked in.

What a little shit Max is. This is why you need to be nice to your siblings.

Realizing he messed up big, Max jumps in after him, ending up in an arid landscape while his brother is being carted off by a giant.

Unable to catch up, Max begins exploring this strange world. When he comes upon a gigantic tree in the forest, the camera pans out as he approaches, to the point where you can barely see Max's silhouette running forward. It's a really cool shot -- pulling wide helps show off the scope of the world that features a lot more personality than the first game's simpler design.

After climbing the tree, Max meets an old woman who tells him about the Conrad slug of a villain, Mustacho, using sock puppets. Then she dies. Her soul infuses itself into Max's trusty marker, at which point the whole tree comes crashing down. It's a marvel Max didn't die, too. Thanks for the warning, lady.

With this new marker, Max can interact with the environment in different ways. To begin, you can raise and destroy rocky platforms by holding the trigger to pull the marker out, bringing it towards applicable glowing areas, and drawing up.

It's simple and a far cry from the loose cannon drawing of the original game -- no more drawing middle finger platforms. This opens up more specific and tightly designed puzzle opportunities, particularly as your repertoire of powers grows and you begin linking them in unison. For example, drawing a tree branch, attaching a vine to it, cutting the tree branch to start it tumbling down, then cutting the vine at the right point in is forward momentum that the branch lands flush on some rocks and can be used as a platform.

It's less abstract than drawing ethereal orange structures and a little more intuitive as you can expect how the various materials will behave. The biggest criticism from the first game that the team took to heart was repetition, hence the addition of new powers that get introduced incrementally as you traverse several distinct areas in your quest to rescue your brother. There's more focus, evidenced by the more structured puzzle elements that marry with the existing platforming and enemy avoidance.

You can also pluck out little eyeball security cameras, the game's collectables, and watch the cute animation as Max wrangles them out of the ground.

At $15, it's nice to see some smaller fare finally hit Xbox One and supplement the launch lineup. The originally planned 360 version is still coming out, too, at a later date. Which ever your preference, Max should prove a fun little adventure.

Steven Hansen, Features Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure dtoidsteven Tips
Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

Virtua Kazama avatarVirtua Kazama
One thing I've learned about the Japanese fighting game players: They are willing to play any fighter no matter how good or bad it is, and they don't shit on the game or the community behind it.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
I killed Darth Vader by crashing a spaceship into him 10/10
Parismio avatarParismio
Watched the first ep of One Punch Man and I was not disappointed. It seems like they'll be adding their own stories into it because I don't remember that fight in the last 5 minutes in the manga. I'll have to reread it to make sure.
Paul S avatarPaul S
What the hell is Sega using in the printing of their PS3 game manuals? I wouldn't be surprised if some dumb kid stuck one in a plastic bag and started huffing the fumes to get high.
CeeDotGreen avatarCeeDotGreen
Been playing MGO obsessively, still can't find anyone in their right mind that uses the Hush Puppy. So of course I'm gonna be the dumb bastard that tries.
TheAngriestCarp avatarTheAngriestCarp
Why don't we have more games that use filtered 3D models to creat faux-pixel art? It's such a cool, smooth style, but you never see any games using it.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh lawd. Next Saturday, Gamestop will have three hour access to Tri-Force Heroes. Nintendo, really wish we could just get normal demos from you more often, please!
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
I made this. Want one? [IMG]HTTPS://[/IMG]
JawshButturBawls avatarJawshButturBawls
Star Wars Battlefront is pretty good. Except the beta is basically a demo with nothing in it so that upsets me. but it's still pretty good.
gajknight avatargajknight
Just cleaning up the last of Gotham's Most Wanted before I finish Arkham Knight. Those Riddler trophies...much more fun than Arkham City but my word, stop it Rocksteady. Love the game though, outstanding. In my top 5 this year, fo sho.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
SCIENCE. IS. AWESOME. [youtube][/youtube]
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
Looks like my copy of Chibi-Robo: Zip Lash won't be here till Tuesday. What do I pay for Amazon Prime for again? I think I might have to stream me playing it.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
I have just heard someone say Uncharted was a "role playing game."
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The glitched walking animation people carrying crates in Novigrad do is hilarious.
TheLimoMaker avatarTheLimoMaker
Undecided what to do with my weekend now my fiancée is away. One part of me says I should work my ass off, another says I should go watch The Martian while the last part tells me to be a slob, play games and masturbate to Highschool DXD.. Such a hard lif
Steel Squirrel avatarSteel Squirrel
The 1.10 patch for The Witcher 3 is out. Downloading for PS4. Pretty excited to see the changes, especially since it said the damn swamps in Velen would finally see performance enhancements, along with like a million other areas. So good! Yes?
wutangclam avatarwutangclam
Just got confirmation that a feature I spent way too long writing is going up on Sunday. Not a bad way to start the weekend off, though I wish I had a slot on a weekday.
gajknight avatargajknight
PB&J sandwiches. Saturday morning cartoons. A blanket. Ominous sounds coming from the next room. Blood seeping from the walls. A dark figure standing in the corner, staring, watching. Darkness, everywhere. Such darkness. This is childhood.
Torchman avatarTorchman
Dear Namco, give me a proper localizer Super Robot Wars title. I need it in my viens, especially this
Mark Plechaty avatarMark Plechaty
more quickposts


destructoid's previous coverage:
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood

  Jun 14

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood shows promise

The drawing mechanic works surprisingly well

  Mar 18

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood looks surprisingly great

Spiritual successor to Max and the Magic Marker

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -