Max and the Curse of Brotherhood came out for the Nintendo Switch back in December, but very recently got a physical re-release for the platform. Time to check it out in our first ever Switch review!
Of course, Max and the Curse of Brotherhood wasn’t even a brand new game then – we had previously reviewed the PS4 version and it was originally an Xbox One exclusive back in 2013. Hard to believe the current console generation is already that old, but there you go. The Switch always seemed like a great platform for the Max franchise though, so I was happy with the release when it happened.
The Curse of Brotherhood was preceded by Max and the Magic Marker, and it’s this magic marker that makes Max such a welcome little customer on the Switch. Essentially a basic platformer, the Max games have a unique twist where you draw on the game screen to help you along. This was done with a mouse and keyboard combination on the original game (PC version), if I remember correctly, but obviously the Switch’s ability to use touch screen controls are perfect in almost literally turning your finger into the fabled magic marker.
The game features seven different game worlds, which each consist of a number of stages, and through them the game gradually changes from a standard platformer to a puzzle platformer as you gain new abilities for your magic marker. How to use it can appear very easy in one scene, only to become a conundrum half an hour later. Drawing isn’t a case of just tracing a line that’s there – in many cases you can experiment and freely draw – sometimes leading to more than one possible outcome as well. There’s a lot of Scribblenauts charm to the game, but with a bigger emphasis on platforming.
Unfortunately, Max’s quest to save his little brother (after he first wished him away) is thwarted by awkward controls – the touch ones, ironically. While using a mouse (or thumbstick) was never as great in reality as it sounded like on paper, it was also a bit of a immersion-breaking experience (there’s a reason Scribblenauts was so beloved on the DS). With the Switch version I expected that to be gone, but unfortunately the touch controls are rather imprecise and laggy at times. I don’t know if that’s a Switch hardware issue or the software’s fault, but it’s a shame because the concept is so great.
This doesn’t disqualify Max and the Curse of Brotherhood as a Switch purchase though – it’s still a decent platformer which scores mostly with its magic marker-related puzzles scenes, and there are plenty of those over a five hour campaign. There are better options if you’re planning on playing on a TV screen, but this is excellent on the go – especially if they fix those touch screen issues. For more on the game, our PS4 review is still up as well.