Hands on with impressive colander on head, ray gun in hand twin stick shooter Max Adventure

The value of eight months polish

Hands on with impressive colander on head, ray gun in hand twin stick shooter Max Adventure
| Max Adventure

At the risk of sounding more like the cynical journalist I actually am, when I first played Imangi's twin stick shooter Max Adventure back at GDC in March 2010, I was unsure about its potential.

At the time, the App Store was recovering from a glut of the genre (MiniGore, Guerrilla Bob et al), and this kid-centric example, from the developer known for its line drawing game Harbor Master seemed a bit superfluous and pastel.

Eight months on however, and a preview of the game that's due out next week, proves my occasional bitter views about game development wrong.

Local hero

At least, the first 30 minutes of Max Adventure feels like a delight.

Of course, the game remains somewhat childish in that you're playing a kid who's out to save the 'burbs of a generic US picket fence town with a colander on his head and a ray gun in his hand.

The reason it seems to work however is the sheer quality of the implementation.

As with all twin stick shooters there are occasional control hicks, but the restricted/free roaming nature of the game works well, while the collection of gold coins to upgrade your abilities - such as multiple fire, speed, invincibility etc - combined with collecting keys to unlock level areas, is well measured.

Mars attacks

In most levels, you have to rescue kids from the alien invasion, which has you running around the streets and houses picking them up, while alien pods drop in front of you, spawning... well alien spawn. You have to shoot them all down, picking up coins, keys and power ups along the way.

Your progression through the levels is constrained by the level design in a fairly linear but the game graphics, occasional trips in hovering UFO and other craft, and the ability to blow up stuff like mail boxes and cars, as well as vapourise lots of alien types from mini Jabba Hut slimes to Half Life 2 walkers, chomping blobs and homing glove monsters, is highly satisfying.

Frankly, I'm looking forward to spending more time playing Max Adventure, which is expected to be available sometime this week on the App Store in a universal app form that will be available for a thoroughly cheap 99c, €0.79 or 59p for a limited period.

And here's the launch trailer.

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Jon Jordan
Jon Jordan
A Pocket Gamer co-founder, Jon can turn his hand to anything except hand turning. He is editor-at-large at which means he can arrive anywhere in the world, acting like a slightly confused uncle looking for the way out. He likes letters, cameras, imaginary numbers and legumes.