Max And The Curse of Brotherhood is an unusual game for a number of reasons. Firstly it addresses a family subject that is rarely touched upon by video-games, that of sibling rivalry. Secondly it features a play mechanic where the player uses a magic pencil to interact with the platforming world.
However, it was its art style and fairytale feel that most surprised me. By keeping the palette bright and the game world fantastical it deals with its potentially weighty subject with an engaging and deft touch. To this the game adds a series of Pixar-like cut-scenes that underline both the themes and story of the experience.
Talking to Lasse Olsen the lead artist on Max and The Curse of Brotherhood it was interesting to hear him talking about the studio's close relationship to Limbo developer Playdead. There are clear similarities in the game, along with a touch of Braid and Heart of Darkness, but the story it tells is wholly its own.
Spending some time playing the game, there is a lot of entertainment value here, but also you are aware that there is a serious need for these two brothers to settle their differences, forgive one another and reunite. Without giving too much away there are more than a few twists and turns along the way.
To progress, players need to solve both action and puzzle elements. Like the first Max title the magic marker plays a part, however its power is more limited to ensure the challenge remains consistent. Getting this balance right, so that players of different abilities and ages can play the game, will be key to the success of Max and The Curse of Brotherhood.
The game is coming exclusively to Xbox Live, Microsoft having recently purchased the studio, and will offer 360 owners another unique experience not available elsewhere -- as Limbo did when it originally launched on the platform.
All this is wrapped up in an experience that turns its hand as easily to humour as seriousness, and follows a steady narrative beat equal to that of any film. Provided Press Play finish as well as it has started this could be a stand out title when it launches on the 360.
The final game will last for around eight and is planned to release on Xbox Live arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points.