Xbox One review: “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood”

Posted: 2014/06/06 in Indie Games

I’ve had an Xbox One since near launch, but not played a lot of games on it. Not because there aren’t good games on it, there are, but because I’ve been using the Xbox One for other things, such as controlling my TV and Xbox Fitness.

But I couldn’t resist trying “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” because the normal $14.99 (or 11.99 pounds, or whatever) price is axed for Xbox Live Gold members for the month of June. And while I haven’t completed the game so far, I’m impressed.

The thing I like about it is that the difficulty level is good for me. While I respect games like “Aban Hawkins & the 1000 SPIKES” for their great production values, I do sometimes find their difficulty level isn’t right for my mood. No such problems with “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood”. It does a really great job of making you feel challenged, and yet not frustrated.

And there’s a lot going on here: you’re jumping of course, but you’re also climbing, and you’re swinging from ropes. On top of that, you’re puzzle solving, and the puzzles are neither crazy hard nor stupid easy. I don’t think any of the puzzles took me more than 60 seconds to solve, and yet I had a strong sense of accomplishment after each one. And then there’s the drawing.

The drawing mechanic has you using a magic marker (see what they did there?) to draw ground to create platforms and do other things to progress, to help you use the game’s platforming mechanics to get where you need to go. The normal permutations are here: draw ground to get an enemy onto it, then destroy that ground to drop them to somewhere less hazardous to your health; draw ground with you underneath it and raise it up to where you need to be; alternate creating raised platforms side-by-side to let you climb up to your goal; draw a rope to grab as you fall; and much more.

There are specific places where you can draw, which effectively acts as a hint system as to how to proceed in the early going, but as you progress it gets much more freeform in how you approach the game.

Production values are spectacular, and it seems to have a rock-solid 60fps frame rate. Having played it, I’d happily have paid $15 for it, and if you’re reading this sometime after its June 2014 stint as a Games with Gold freebie, don’t hesitate to purchase it “Max: The Curse of Brotherhood” if you’re into puzzle platformers.

  1. Dream Poet says:

    I purchased this game for the 360 since I don’t have a One yet and I’m loving the game so far as well. It’s a great platform/puzzler game. I agree with you on the difficulty and based on your descriptions I believe I’m a bit further along than you and the difficulty does ramp up a little bit but so far not to crazy levels.

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