Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Max and the Magic Marker: Gold Edition

Review: Max and the Magic Marker: Gold Edition

5:00 PM on 10.12.2011 // Steven Hansen
  @dtoidsteven

Max and the Magic Marker has had a handful of releases on various platforms and it’s back again, this time on the PlayStation Network under the prestigious moniker Max and the Magic Marker: Gold Edition. Critical reception for the game’s previous releases was generally positive, so the title has come to PSN to strut its stuff, boasting new levels since the original release and PlayStation Move support.

The game is a physics-based, 2D platformer -- a genre that seems to be in vogue -- that attempts to distinguish itself from the pack with its whimsical art style and magic marker mechanic that requires the player to draw structures that can then be used to traverse environments. Are those elements enough to elevate it above similar platformers?



Max and the Magic Marker: Gold Edition (PlayStation Network)
Developer: Press Play
Publisher: Press Play
Released: October 18, 2011
MSRP:
$9.99

Max and the Magic Marker opens with a little boy named Max who sports a bit of a Phillip J. Fry hairdo and receives a marker in the mail. With it, he inadvertently creates a mustachioed monster that looks a bit like an eggplant. When the monster breaks free from the confines of Max’s drawing pages, Max decides it’s his duty to rid the world of his abominable creation.

The game is charming at the onset because of its whimsical art style. The world is vibrant, bubbly, colorful and cleanly rendered. A push of the square button freezes the game, save for the magic marker, and to help distinguish between the two states of being in the game, the art style also changes when paused, to rudimentary crayon drawings of everything that was on screen when the game was paused. It’s a cute touch that adds personality.

The titular mechanic, the magic marker, is a fun one, albeit a not completely new one. The marker begins devoid of ink at the start of each level and requires the player to track down orange ink orbs to slowly fill the marker, allowing bigger and better things to be drawn. The marker, controlled with the right stick, can be used both in the “frozen” mode and while Max is moving around, and makes for some fun scenarios. Though it’s most frequently used to create simplistic platforms and bridges, the game occasionally requires you to do some interesting things with it, like drawing a seesaw, planting yourself on one end, and dropping something on the other to jump higher.



Max and the Magic Marker consists of about 60 platforming stages split evenly between three different locales: Max’s neighborhood, a pirate-themed island, and a place with a machinery/laboratory vibe. The actual platforming is a bit simplistic, but serviceable. I came across a few bugs and hiccups, like Max getting stuck in midair hanging onto some invisible ledge that wasn’t there, but they were rare and never really frustrating because the stages are typically short.

At the end of levels, there is a grading system of three possible stars, each of which is contingent on some aspect of how you have completed the level. Independent of the ink orbs, each level contains yellowish collectible orbs, of which there are typically many, and even more precious black orbs, of which there are typically one or two per level.

Gathering all of these orbs awards you two of the three possible stars, while earning the third star requires you to complete the level in under a set amount of time. However, most of the levels are fairly linear and don’t require you to go too far out of the way to collect everything.

One pretty cool thing the game does with its collecting system is occasionally hide the black orbs in clever ways. On some levels, they are nowhere in sight and finding them requires you to do various things to make them appear. For example, one level starts with a soccer ball flying towards the net behind you and if you jump at the right time and keep the goal from being scored, the soccer ball turns into the level’s black orb. Unfortunately, these clever tricks aren’t applicable to most of the game’s black orbs, which sort of sums up the game’s main shortcoming, which is that it’s a bit too easy.



As mentioned prior, though using the marker can be a lot of fun, only rarely are you called upon to do something really clever with it out of necessity. The game’s platforming is also rather mediocre, which is why it’s puzzling that the last third of the game, easily the most bland and monochromatic locale, eschews the use of the marker in a lot of instances in favor of standard platforming mechanics with little personality, like “run from the big thing” and “don’t touch the lasers,” the latter being particularly infuriating in some instances.

Enemies are also rather uncommon and there are basically only two types. Combating these foes involves drawing heavy things to drop on their heads, which is often too easy, especially given the “freeze time” mechanic, yet it’s also oddly aggravating, as the game seemed too temperamental in deciding which drawings would defeat enemies.

Sometimes, I would drop a tiny fragment of a drawing from right above an enemy's head and it would disappear, yet other times I would drop a hulking mass from halfway up the screen that would just bounce off of them. The game’s three boss fights against the mustachioed eggplant monster at the end of each section fall victim to the same problems; they’re simplistic and unrewarding.

I struggle with claiming the game is great for younger, uninitiated gamers because I cut my teeth on much more challenging, varied, and interesting platformers at a young age, but that audience is there. For the rest of us, Max and the Magic Marker is a cute and fun, albeit simplistic, romp through an upbeat, pretty, childlike fantasy world that does some neat things but struggles to stay consistently engaging.



THE VERDICT

6

Max and the Magic Marker: Gold Edition - Reviewed by Steven Hansen
Amicable - A presentable but unmemorable time. Focusing on the bright spots helps, and I appreciate the effort, but I won't be playing this repeatedly.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

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 *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Max and the Magic Marker: Gold Edition


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Summer Wars: The Video Game….I mean Digimon: Cyber Sleuth

Gaming's Beautiful People #4: Valentine's Day Special OR Love Multi-Kills

Exist Archive: The Other Side Of The Sky Import Review

Stupid Teens Do Stupid Things: An Oxenfree Critique

A blog test. Brought to you by Buckner & Garcia

Cblogs of 2/11/16, 2/12/16 + Firethoughts

XCOM 2 And The Glory of Mods

PS+ Games of the Month January 2016 - Feat. GajKnight and SolarPonyDjango

Your Opinions On Racing Games Are Stupid

The Nerds Have Won

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

Parismio avatarParismio
Omg i love the internet
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Iron Paladin avatarIron Paladin
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
I can't wait to mute Niero. #NoRules #ThePurge
Joe Parlock avatarJoe Parlock
I spent all last night playing Day of Defeat: Source. If only Valve gave it even half the attention it did to TF2 or CS:S...
BaronVonSnakPak avatarBaronVonSnakPak
Nearing Platinum status.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
THIS IS THE BEST EMAIL I'VE EVER GOTTEN HOLY SHIT
Parismio avatarParismio
Sheesh i played metal gear rising before and Platinum ruined the franchise.
Fuzunga avatarFuzunga
Toonami is running a poll right now at [url]www.toonami.com/poll[/url] where one of the questions is which show you'd want un-cancelled. Oh, Teen Titans is included? That's curious...
SlyTAdvantage avatarSlyTAdvantage
"The Ravagers dropped the giant insects and waited for them to evolve ... it's clear. This is their plan from the start" -EDF 4.1 scientist So dragons are evolved forms of ants, spiders and/or wasps ....... what?
Ckarasu avatarCkarasu
Every time I hear "I don't understand why people like _____ game", I get annoyed. Of course you understand, if you've listened to what those people were saying. You just don't agree, and that's A-OK. I HATE Twilight, but I understand why people like it.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Just tried playing the first Bayonetta game... it was really bad. Honestly I don't understand why Platinum games are so well regarded. None of them are really worthwhile.
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
The first person I block is the person who talks shit about Platinum
Torchman avatarTorchman
Even though your waifus are shit
Darth Wachen avatarDarth Wachen
Finally, a blog that I can call my own, I feel accomplished somehow.
Nekrosys avatarNekrosys
Gonna be honest; this really made my day.
Rico the Penguin avatarRico the Penguin
I doubt I'll use it much but I'm totally fine with a block/ignore feature. Everyone has a right to speak, but I don't think anyone has a right to be heard. If this place played country music I'd want a mute button, basically :p.
Sir Shenanigans avatarSir Shenanigans
Mall haul today (plus I split a BEAUTIFUL Star Wars Slave I with my brother). Any thoughts on Haze? Wanted to play it back when it came out and I had no PS3. For a dollar you can't go wrong!
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
I'm not gonna lie, I don't feel "good" about the upcoming "ignore" feature. Maybe it's just me, but I don't like the idea that people can mute other people because they don't agree with them. Spammers and trolls, sure, but not regular community members.
Gundy avatarGundy
Oh man. Those Next Gen transformations in Megadimension Neptunia are legit as fuck!
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

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 -