I can relate to Max, the titular character in Flashbulb Games’ colourful platformer. He comes home after a hard day of grafting at school. He’s probably been doing maths and what not, so he’s understandable knackered and wants nothing more than to get in and wind down in his room. A boy’s bedroom is his castle. His fortress of solitude. It’s where he’ll do all kinds of things – some nasty, some lovely. So when Max gets home and finds his brother pissing about in his room, playing with his toys, Max isn’t happy.
I can relate to Max. I’ve had this situation before, except I dealt with it a little differently. When I was a teenager and I found one of my siblings in my room, I’d grab my cum rag (stiff sock) and beat them around the head with it. I was a disgusting teenager. Max is not. Max is a little smarter and being that he’s a kid of internet era, he heads to his computer and searches for the best solution to get rid of his brother, Felix. He finds a site that tells him to speak a magic spell. Max, the savage lad that his is, doesn’t think twice before murmuring the incantation. Just as he ends the spell, a massive portal opens in his room and his brother is snatched away. Wow. Max, mate. That’s harsh. Your mum will go mental. At least with a cum rag beating your brother is still in this dimension!
And this is how Max: Curse of Brotherhood begins. Max, despite wanting his brother gone, can’t follow through with the commitment. He hastily follows his snatched brother through the portal. He wants to save the little twat. Like, why bother? For me, this is a big flaw in the story’s logic, but after having looked back at the previous two paragraphs, maybe I’m taking this all a bit too seriously?
The story isn’t a tale worth tweeting about, but it’s decent enough and serves its purpose. The characters aren’t anything special and Max, the young hero, isn’t all that likeable either. He does have his moments but the fact he’s ginger… Well. ‘Nuff said, really.
Where Max: The Curse of Brotherhood shines is in its gameplay. On your quest to help Max save his brother from the evil Mr. Mustachio, aided by the spirit of an old lady who resides in your magic marker pen, you’ll do the usual platforming and what not. What makes things a little different in this adventure is Max’s magic marker. The magic marker is part graffiti tool, part granny. You meet an old lady early on in the game who decides it’s time to stop collecting those pension cheques as she does away with her mortal form to be, erm, ink? I don’t know how it works exactly, all I know is that she’s super handy.
Max’s marker is essential to solving the game’s puzzles. Over the course of the game you’ll gain new abilities and powers, though I never really felt overwhelmed by them. They weren’t dished out willy nilly, so I always had ample time to get to grips with the latest ability before the game gave me a new one.
As with most platformers, you’ll, erm, platform? You’ll jump around different levels, solving some pretty darn ingenious puzzles with the marker, as well as collecting a few bits and bobs for them precious PSN trophies. It’s challenging enough that you’ll be able to look past the family friendly front, but it’s not so hard that it’ll sit uncompleted for years.
The twist with Curse of Brotherhood is how you platform your way through the game. Using the marker you’ll create platforms to jump onto, as well as climbing vines that you’ve drawn into the world. It’s not just making that gets you by, but also destroying. Some puzzles will require some proper smart thinking if you want to 100% the game. Some areas will only be accessible by, for example, leading an enemy towards another by creating and then destroying different structures, having that enemy get sucked up by the other, and then using the now-attached duo to reach another area. Sounds complicated? Sometimes it is but you come out of it feeling like a genius, and that’s helped by the fact controlling the powers isn’t all that difficult. It’s simple and uncomplicated.
The real challenge, aside from some of the more puzzling puzzles, are the chases. These sequences see Max legging it from one monster or another, and it’s your job to jump, swing, crawl, and think your way to the ends of these moments. They’re fair but tough. You’ll die a few times but it’s all part of the fun. If only I could say that about real life…
There’s not really much to complain about with Curse of Brotherhood, though I suppose its controls and graphics may not be up to par. The controls are fine for the most part, but I had a few occasions where my button presses just weren’t responding how they should have. It wasn’t a massive deal and I persevered, so please don’t feel sorry for me!
Graphically it’s alright. Nothing special is going on but it looks quite nice in some areas and a little poor in others. Everything else is just… fine. Like, it’s a 2.5D platformer. What more do you want? It looks decent and the camera isn’t a pain in the arse, so for me it’s good enough and the gameplay more than makes up for the graphical shortcomings which, in fairness, aren’t even that bad.
For your cash you’re getting a 10 hour story mode that you can go through again to collect the few collectibles that game has. It might not seem like a lot but I felt that I’d had my fill by the time the story came to its predictable conclusion.
Max: Curse of Brotherhood PS4 Review
Max: Curse of Brotherhood is a decent platformer and a brilliant puzzle game. When the two differing genres interweave, Curse of Brotherhood is at its best. There's a lengthy campaign to get through with some good fun to be had, though I don't know if that'll justify the $30+ price tag.
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS4 Slim.