Max: The Curse of Brotherhood review (PS4)

Previously available on Xbox and PC, we now review Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for PS4. Coming at you this holiday season by way of Flashbulb Games, this platformer was originally developed by Press Play.

We were always fond of Danish developer Press Play. For obvious reasons, but also because they created a few fun titles while the studio was in business. We met them a few years ago to see the excellent Kalimba (then called Project Totem), but before that they had already released Max and the Magic Marker and Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. That last title has now been re-released for the present generation of consoles, and it’s still a platformer worth playing.

As Max, your task is to return your little brother Felix from another world – which you sent him to when you got mad at him and experimented with a magic spell. Filled with regret and brotherly love, you set out to save Felix – and you’re armed only with your magic marker.

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A cinematic puzzle platformer, Max: The Curse of Brotherhood sits somewhere in between Limbo and Rayman when it comes to its pace and art style. It’s far more colorful than Limbo, yet has puzzle elements that require the kind of reflection and pause that Limbo is so well-known for.

During these puzzle sections, Max will have to use his magic marker to shape the game world by creating platforms and helpful vines to swing from, just to name two frequently occurring uses for the marker. There are many more possible uses, but the color coding of the various nodes you find in the game’s levels determine what you can use and when. This means that, when seemingly useless powers are available, combining them could be the key to success.

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This dynamic makes for some clever puzzle designs that are fun to figure out – though they’re probably not hard enough for the real puzzle enthusiast since experimenting with the available option is frequently enough to get past a puzzle if you feel like you’re stuck. The game’s designers seem to realize this as well, which is why new abilities are introduced over the course of the game to keep the experience fresh.

Besides the puzzle sequences, there are also plenty of straight up platforming sequences. In these, the camera often zooms in and out for a cinematic effect – which works best during the game’s chase sequences where giant monsters chase you and you climb, crawl and jump to get away as fast as possible.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is neither a hardcore platformer not a hardcore puzzler, but it’s an enjoyable mix of the two genres that’s pleasant to play as well as look at. PS4 owners could do a lot worse than to check out this little platformer, which offers at least five hours of gameplay at a reasonable price.

Score: 7.3/10

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