Max: The Curse of Brotherhood sets the App Army's pens scribbling
The App Army Assembles to tackle this platforming-puzzler
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is another in a long line of console games which has made the jump to mobile, and in our eyes, that's a great move.
But what do we know? Nothing, that's what. So we handed the game over to our hand-picked community and asked the App Army what they thought.
While some were dead chuffed, others didn't see the appeal. You can't win them all, I suppose - but you certainly can read all their opinions by hitting the link below.
The first thing to say is that this game has managed to port across to mobile whilst maintaining some of the prettiest visuals you will find on your phone. The environments and characters look great. I also found that the game ran really well, with no frame rate issues or excessive load times.
However, the game still has somewhat floaty controls and this is exaggerated on mobile by the touch screen control system. If you can look past this (and a few cheap deaths thrown at you), then it’s well worth a look.
I was super impressed by the game’s graphics and liked that it dragged you in very quickly. The music is fine. The voice acting is fun. The action is pretty intense and enjoyable. Think maybe an eight year old Indiana Jones. That’s my impression.
It can be very challenging (to me anyway) but generally, after getting our hero killed a few times, I was able to get past most obstacles. This is a very good looking game and I will probably finish it. The only drawback is the controls, and that’s a big one.
I initially tried this on my iPhone 7 but honestly found the controls on the small screen so difficult that I was getting repeatedly killed very early on, so I switched to my iPad Pro. If I didn’t have an iPad to play it on, I’d have probably given up. Not good for a $4.99 game.
So, yes, I can happily recommend this game, but that is only if you can play it on a tablet. Otherwise I think you’ll be frustrated and lamenting your money spent.
The Curse of Mobile Port would be a more suitable title for this newly released adventure game with a rather exciting story and quite innovative pencil-drawing mechanic. Do not get me wrong: the devil is not so black as he is painted (or better said "marker drawn" under the circumstances), however, technical aspects of the game are far from being perfect.
The controls are not so tight and fluid as those found in the best iOS platformers like Rayman Jungle Run, Leo's Fortune and Oddmar. Also, the clunky pitch-black control bar looks ugly to me. At the very least, the developers could make it transparent to match the on-screen color scheme. On top of all that, the graphics as they appear on my old iPad Air are lacking color saturation and look fairly washed out.
Nevertheless, I am firmly set to finish it as I immensely enjoyed what I saw so far: Pixar-worthy animated cutscenes, at times head-scratching puzzles, great sound production, interesting gameplay mechanics, and an all-encompassing atmosphere of a daredevil adventure. So, the iOS version is recommended with caution, but should you have an opportunity to pick it up on Switch or consoles, I am sure you won't regret it at all.
iPhone XS Max
The game looks and sounds great. There is a little visible frisson when the game switches between the lower res in-game video and game graphics, but this does not detract from playing the game. At first it seems like a standard platformer, but gameplay becomes great fun when the puzzle sections kick in.
However, it’s let down by floaty controls which lead to numerous needless deaths. The ‘fixed’ areas on screen for controlling Max make this problem worse as it’s easy to miss the jump button in the heat of the action. Also, part of the puzzle sections require you to raise and lower platforms by swiping, and the game can at times be unresponsive to this action, which leads to more deaths.
If you have multiple iOS devices you are out of luck as there are no cloud saves. Also, it’s another battery hog, turning my phone and iPad into small heaters.
If you can put up with the control frustrations, you might have a lot of fun with this game.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a true visual treat. On my 7+ it looks absolutely sumptuous and the production values really shine. The gameplay is neat, putting a twist on traditional platformers by giving you the ability to manipulate your environment with your magic marker. It’s an interesting mechanic which works quite well.
Unfortunately for me, the controls didn’t match the visual promise, and repeating sections of the game over and over soon became an exercise is frustration rather than fun. The slow panning camera was an irritation in certain sections as Max would run to the edge of the screen, normally to his death, before it had caught up. Even on my 7+, there were areas where, as the view zoomed out, it became tricky to see the path I needed to take.
On a large screen with physical controls, Max:The Curse of Brotherhood would be an instant recommendation. But on my phone, I’m not so sure.
iPad 6th Gen
The game looks and sounds pretty good, I’m having a lot of fun playing it. The world is beautifully made and the story works well to keep you entertained.
However, where the game suffers is with the poor controls. It’s really frustrating to die for no reason, but you’ll do that a lot and it robs you of what looks like a pretty good game.
Animated feature films belong to my favourite cinematic genre, so I genuinely enjoyed watching all of the cutscenes of Max: the Curse of the Brotherhood.
Although on the outside the game looks colorful and bright, it did remind me of Limbo in a number of ways. There’s a sense that the protagonist is trying to save a person close to him, in order to progress you have to interact smartly with the nearby objects, and the last similarity is that you stoically and methodically die young.
Nonetheless, the game is listed in the App Store with the tag "Games for kids aged 9-11", and I think playing it together with your child will turn out to be fun. The controls are wobbly, but manageable, and the graphics are somewhat grainy on my iPad Pro.
I could've named a few other gripes, but the most important thing is that I felt like I was on an adventure with an important mission to save my brother.
The change of the camera angle throughout the gameplay, the hunt for collectibles, and a plethora of puzzles to solve have solidified my intent to see the game through to the bitter?/happy? end.
In my mind, this is a worthy addition to the brotherhood of dramatic platformers that includes the likes of Never Alone, Limbo, Inside, Leo's Fortune, Thomas Was Alone, and others.
I found this game very entertaining for the most part. The gameplay is enjoyable and colourful, and there was enough plot and action to keep me wanting to move forward.
However, the controls were a bit of a pain. Sometimes it was difficult to jump or swing and land in the right place, resulting in a death plunge.
This definitely affected the overall fun of the game. I’m not sure if it was because I was playing on a larger screen, but it was something I could have done without.
With that being said, I did like the game in general and it had a strong storyline to follow. If the controls had been easier to use, I would have been more than happy to recommend it.
The overall feel of the game felt polished and well thought out. It reminded me a lot of a less dark limbo. The gameplay was fun and entertaining, but this was slightly let down by the controls.
Although they are manageable, I have always felt games that require precision jumping don’t always work the best on a touchscreen. Playing this on my iPad did work a little bit better with the controls, but some kind of physical controller might be better overall.
Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is a console quality experience on mobile, moreover the issues that have been raised by critics on the limitations of analogue controls interfacing with the touch-oriented nature of the drawing mechanic is solved on touchscreen devices.
The game follows a story remarkably similar to Mickey Mouse and the Castle of Illusion, except with Internet acquired summoning rituals rather than Misrabel's envy.
Take note children, don't use non peer-reviewed online resources to summon spirits, it will bite you in the behind every time.
The game shines with AAA production values and flaunts its scale often. One especially impressive scene from the early game sees the camera zoom out until you are controlling a speck on the horizon, moving toward a huge floating oasis. In disbelief, I hit the jump button, the speck bops up into the air, yep, that's real-time rendering on a huge scale.
As a platformer, the game fleshes out its mechanics to puzzle platforming fullness. My only complaint here takes me back to a childhood playing games on outdated hardware. You play a game, it looks good and runs smoothly, then two years later you play the sequel on your machine, but it looks more dated than the first game.
It's because your machine is an ugly and dated thing, and you should know it. The developers could cater for it, but they did not. Max does this for my iPad Air. What I see is not a pretty game, it is blurry and smudgy, with jagged edges on everything.
I recognize that behind this grotesque facade is a beautiful game, it just wasn't designed to run on my device, merely to give it a grudging nod and say "grade up already". I am more inclined toward games that actually look good on my device at the moment and that I have yet to finish, like Oddmar, Grimvalor, Dust, Fez, VVVVV, Mickey: the Castle of Illusion, and a half dozen other platformers.
If you have the hardware, and you want to bench it with some real clever AAA grade, console quality eye candy, you'll find plenty to love in Max: The Curse of Brotherhood.
iPhone XS Max
For a port of a console game to mobile this sure doesn’t look half bad, with near console quality graphical fidelity, great load times, and little to no frame drops during the faster moving sequences.
The game plays much like its bigger brother/sister, for those that haven’t played the console version or have little knowledge of the game's premise. You find yourself playing the titular hero, Max, on his quest to rescue his brother.
On his travels, he gains the ability to draw additional environmental elements to help him (or hinder, depending on how good your drawing skills are). It is a great mechanic and definitely adds a Metroidvania element to the platforming. Unfortunately, though, this is also where the game, on smaller mobile screens, is slightly flawed.
The camera on occasion either pans too slow or zooms out too far, all while you are required to perform some of the more challenging platforming. This, combined with the slightly floaty controls, makes for an at times frustrating experience.
All told, I would still recommend the game, especially if you have an external controller, or a larger screen (iPad, or the larger X max/plus phones). It’s a great port, with only a few niggling issues.