From publisher and developer Clear Stage Studios comes the nearly 5 year old follow up to Max & The Magic Marker, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood an innovative adventure platformer that sees you take control of Max on his journey to save his younger brother using only his magical marker.
One summer day, Max arrives back home from school to find that his room is a complete mess and his little brother Felix is playing with all of his toys again! Out of pure sibling anger, Max turns on his computer to try and find a way to make his brother disappear.
Without knowing the full extent of what he’s done, Max casts a spell that sends his brother to a bizarre world. Armed only with his trusty Magic Marker, Max must embark on the greatest adventure of his life in order to save his little brother!
At its core, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is very much your standard adventure platformer. Finely tuned controls pair with a variety of different gameplay mechanics and accessible puzzles that really allows you to become fully immersed in this game.
Thematic worlds await you as you boot up Max: The Curse of Brotherhood and each one holds a new key to unlocking the full capability of your magic marker. This marker serves as the central gameplay mechanic and is constantly added too throughout the game. By adding new abilities to the marker you are able to interact with different sections of the levels in order to solve the puzzles and progress forward. Each section you are able to interact with glows with the color of the ability you’re able to use and varies from raising platforms or gushing water to propel different things around. Each interactive section is limited though, and you have to really think through how to use each piece of the environment in order to solve the puzzles.
When using the marker’s different abilities you can either have the Joy-Con control which section you interact with and also use the joy-stick to draw the design, or you can use the touch screen capability of the Nintendo Switch to more seamlessly incorporate this mechanic. I really liked using my finger to draw the designs when playing in handheld mode, but having the game projected on a TV allowed me greater accessibility to seeing the entire puzzle presented and I didn’t have to retry many things from the game. Overall this was a pleasant gaming experience that was very balanced and not overly intense.
The bar gets set very high with the graphical quality of this game because of the beautifully animated opening scene that sees Max send his brother off into the fantasy world where our adventure takes place. What is unfortunate is the drop off in quality between these scenes and the gameplay graphics while you’re paying the game. There are lots of blurry backgrounds and edges that make the game seem out of focus and less crisp. Aside from that there are big dips in frame rate that create frustrating moments if you’re in the middle of running away from a baddie and even moments where the entire game just stops for a second or two. This is a frustrating difference, especially considering everything else about the game is so well done and the graphics stick out as a sore spot for me.
As far as indie platformers go, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood falls right in line with everything we have come to expect from this genre on the Nintendo Switch. It’s got a unique storyline and premise that immerses you within the world of the game, the controls are very well executed and the innovations made in the gameplay are welcome additions to the platforming genre as a whole. The difficulty level isn’t ever too high over your seven-hour campaign, so it gives you a great entry point into platfomers without overwhelming you with anything too intense or over the top. The only downside for me was the inconsistency in the graphical presentation, which is easy to overlook given that the rest of the game is so great and in my mind definitely a NintenDeal.
Platform – Physical Edition & Nintendo Switch eShop Download
Publisher – Stage Clear Studios
Developer – Stage Clear Studios
Price – $14.99
Genre – Platformer, Adventure, Puzzle
Size – 2.7GB
A native of Minnesota, Brandon has been an avid Nintendo fan for as long as he can remember and enjoys being able to escape into the vast worlds offered in their games. Some of his favorite games include: Pokemon Blue & Silver, Earthbound, The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Risk of Rain 2, and of course LoZ: Breath of the Wild.
Outside of gaming Brandon enjoys riding motorcycle, listening to music or podcasts, cooking, watching movies, and is a big sports fan. He is always carrying his Switch with him wherever he goes, so feel free to add him if you’d like to lose at MK8D.