Games News and Reviews | High Def Digest
Film & TV All News Blu-Ray Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders 4K Ultra HD Reviews Release Dates News Pre-orders Gear Reviews News Home Theater 101 Best Gear Film & TV
Games : Recommended
Release Date: December 20th, 2013 Movie Release Year: 2013

Max: Curse of the Brotherhood

Overview -

Developer Press Play, having recently been acquired by Microsoft, is revitalizing the base mechanic of 'Max and the Magic Marker' for a new, Xbox-exclusive release, 'Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.' Imbued with a new narrative, tighter puzzling design and, of course, a parent company with a sizeable budget, Press Play's latest may be the first step in the Xbox One's reflection of the Xbox 360's arcade success.

Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
December 20th, 2013

Video Review


Embracing a tenet of open-ended creation through its characters, creatures and landcaspes, Max's Anotherland delights while lacking a true focal theme. Mustacho, Felix's kidnapper, sends a mighty, spherical, half-bald beast to do his dirty work, and watching it carry Felix in the background as I progressed through the opening levels was both wonderfully fantastical and motivating. In comparison, Mustacho, the old villain scheming to use Felix to become young again, has a visual presence that is all-too lacking. Similarly, a desert environment feels uninspired while Mustacho's territory melds its dastardly atmosphere with just as dastardly puzzles. It's a mixed bag, but it's fun.

On the downside, the game is not a stunner in the fidelity department. As an early Xbox One title you'd hope it looks like it belongs in the new generation. It doesn't, perhaps because it's also releasing on the Xbox 360 at some point in the future. Worse, however, is that sometimes the backgrounds blend pretty convincingly into the interactive elements of a given level, causing some missteps that could have been avoided with a more confident, more contrasted art style. Instead, it took my about 10 tries during one section to notice a stone pillar I could draw out of the ground as its orange signifier was hard to pick out against the background lava.

Audio Review


Though the game draws a bit of its personality from the visual style, Max's most expressive feature is his voice. Stumble upon a particularly perplexing puzzle and Max will say something like, "Err, now what?" He'll yelp "no, no, no!" as the ground gives way beneath him and taunt at recently felled enemies.

He'll even mutter an encouraging "Felix, I'm coming to save you" during a transitional moment. These are the moments you feel closest to Max over the course of his adventure, and it sort of makes you wish the entire story was told in this manner.

While Max's voice actor nails the tone of an emerging youngster hero imbued with confidence, Felix could have done with something a little less overtly annoying, and Mustacho's nefarious yet cowardly temperament is downright clichéd. The music signals moments of excitement in the gameplay, but doesn't do much beyond that.

Press Play squeezed more than its fair share out of the simple yet powerful drawing mechanic originating from 'Max and the Magic Marker.' Expanding that idea in 'The Curse of Brotherhood,' with narrative focus and tighter puzzle creation, a wonderful Xbox One title emerged, fresh and new. For anyone with the new console and desperate for something that doesn't involve pointing a gun or a car, Press Play's latest is absolutely worth the time. Without more surrounding polish, however, and leaning on traditional dressings in most areas other than strict puzzle design, this is no classic. Here's hoping Press Play keeps on going with this apparently endlessly fruitful idea and finds something more to say with it in further iteration; there's still fertile ground here.

Click here to view comments on this review