Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for Xbox One

The Xbox One isn’t due for another retail game release until early 2014. Luckily, early adopters have a steady stream of downloadable releases to keep them busy until then. Peggle 2 (review coming soon) showed up not long ago, and Halo: Spartan Assault is due out on Christmas Eve.

This past Friday another game popped up somewhat unexpectedly: Max: The Curse of Brotherhood from Press Play and Microsoft Studios.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is the sequel to Windows Phone 7 launch title Max and the Magic Marker. It also happens to be exclusive to Xbox One and 360, with the 360 version coming later next year. Can a 2D-style platformer still excite the senses on next gen consoles? We just so happen to have video footage of the first two levels to share with you guys. Check it out after the break!

Sibling rivalry

At the start of the game, Max comes home from school to find his little brother Felix playing with (and breaking) his toys. Then he does what any of us would do, and looks online for a way to get rid of the kid. Max discovers a spell for brother removal and reads it aloud, not expecting anything to happen. But something does happen: he and Felix are swallowed up into a portal and transported to another world.

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for Xbox One

Awakening in the new world, Max sees a giant monster lumbering off with his little bro. He quickly runs after them… At which point players are now controlling Max in full 2D gameplay with 3D graphics.

Initially the game plays just like any other 2D platformer. Max can run, jump, crawl under spaces and climb ladders and ropes. The platforming feels much better with a controller than the previous game did on a phone’s touch screen though, so that’s a plus.

Drawn to life

Max: The Curse of Brotherhood for Xbox One

Before long, Max meets a mysterious old woman who imbues his marker with magical powers. That’s when the gameplay gets really interesting. Now Max can use the marker to affect the game world and solve puzzles.

Hold the Right Trigger to whip out Max’s magic marker, which you then control like a cursor with the left stick. In this game, the marker can only interact with specific glowing portions of the game world. The marker can raise platformers from the ground with the A button or break them apart with the X button. A platform can only be raised once; if you need to adjust its height you’ll need to crush it and craft a new one.

The puzzles that we’ve seen so far are simple and intuitive – no getting stuck on a single screen for ages or anything like that. But Max will surely gain new abilities as the game continues.

Hopefully the difficulty remains as approachable throughout the game as it is now. Developer Press Play went overboard at times with the difficulty in the first Max and especially their previous phone game Tentacles. I’d hate to see The Curse of Brotherhood veer into frustrating territory as well.

We’ll have a full review of Max: The Curse of Brotherhood before the New Year. If you’re dying for an Xbox One platformer, this game looks like a safe bet.