Max comes home to find his younger brother Felix in his room playing with his toys. His reaction? In anger, straight onto his laptop to use the Giggle search engine to find an invocation opening a world rift that sees a gigantic monster claw grab Felix and drag him into another realm. Max reacts quickly grabbing Felix’s dislodged glasses, his backpack and jumps into the closing rift.
And so begins an enchanting trek of brotherly love as Max firstly traverses a desert, chasing after a distant colossus that has captured Felix. The first few levels are classic platforming, moving left to right in a 2D plane that is presented in a beautifully detailed 3D way, with just the promise of alternate paths. There aren’t any, but the rendition of the world feels vibrant and deep.
During the course of his adventures Max will find his way through the pantheon of platform-game worlds. Jungle, river, underground, lava and other settings will keep Max jumping for his life.
But every-game these days needs a hook. Pure platform jumping and climbing is not enough. Very early on in his disparate chase Max chances upon a grandmotherly guru, high atop a gigantic tree. Max is carried aloft through a sequence of magically appearing water spouts, sprouting limbs, and vines.
During the course of the game the marker will have further abilities added to it, swinging vines can be drawn from yellow nodes, tree limbs from green, water spouts from blue and magical missiles from purple coloured nodes. Limbs and vines can also be cut once created and manipulated by Max along with other on-screen objects.
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This combination of elements gives the game designers a wide variety of tools to create devious, but no-where near impossible puzzle levels for players.
Felix has been kidnapped by the evil Mustachio, whose monster is now carrying him towards his doom, a device to extract and give the aging Mustachio back his youth. Mustachio knows Max is on a quest to retrieve his brother and has “eye” deployed throughout the land, these, along with a shattered amulet provide an added collectible challenge within the game.
The final boss-fight can be a drawn out series of trial-and-error attempts, but ultimately, perhaps all too soon, this delightful experience of a game is over. If you want to take it further, or don’t yet have an Xbox One, check out the original Max and The Magic Marker here.