max and the magic marker

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!

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Windows Phone Central Game Roundup: Family Games


Windows Phone Central's Roundup of Family Games

With Windows Phone 8, you get the Kids Corner and in this weeks roundup, we are focusing on a selection of Family Games from the Windows Phone Store.  These games can be installed and added to your Windows Phone Kid's Corner to offer your kids a little entertainment to pass the time with.

While these games are "family friendly" that doesn't mean they are boring for adults. They can be full of challenges and rather entertaining.

We've got an Xbox Live title, a couple of repeats to the roundup and a few games that we're taking a look at for the first time. And as always, if we've missed your favorite Family Game feel free to sound off in the comments.

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Remember that huge Easter sale on Xbox Live titles we were so enthusiastic about a short time ago? It took a little while to receive confirmation on this, but we’ve learned that the seven featured games have permanently dropped in price to 99 cents. That’s good news to Windows Phone gamers as it means we have a new (and more competitive) price point for games!

The seven games that dropped in price from $2.99 to 99 cents:

Wondering what prompted the change in prices? The obvious answer is that Microsoft timed the drops in accordance with the release of the Nokia Lumia 900 (review). With the much-vaunted handset producing a flood of new Windows Phone owners and potential gamers, the big MS probably thought it important for these new customers to be able to pick up a few Xbox Live games on the cheap. Angry Birds in particular really needed to come down in price due to it being offered for free on a few other platforms already. In case the hubbub over Rovio passing on bringing Angry Birds in Space to Windows Phone (and their subsequent one-eighty) didn’t cue you in, it’s very important that the masses have their Angry Birds.

In Angry Birds’ case, platform equity is most likely reason for a price drop. And certainly most of the seven games cost 99 cents on iPhone as well – but not all. De Blob Revolution actually sells for $2.99 on iTunes at present. Something tells me it simply wasn’t a hot seller on Windows Phone, perhaps due to the weakness of the De Blob brand or the game’s lack of post-release updates. As for Toy Soldiers: Boot Camp, why that’s a Windows Phone exclusive! But the game is a bit content-light, a factor that may have led to its price shedding a few dollars.

Wondering whether the game makers had any say in their titles’ new prices? “We had the opportunity to drop our existing games to the new price point, so we decided to do so and test the water, so to speak,” one Xbox Live developer told WPCentral. The same game maker expects to drop the price of another title in the future.

The new price offers advantages to everyone involved. Developers now have a little more control in the pricing of their games, and gamers can pick up titles more affordably. Of course, for a game to be more profitable in the 99 cent range than $2.99, it needs to sell over three times as many copies. Initially, the Windows Phone user base simply wasn’t large enough to sustain such low prices. Microsoft could have still launched with the sub-dollar price, but games would have been loss leaders until more people picked up handsets. Now that Nokia is fully onboard and actively advertising the Lumia 900, the user base has either grown enough or is expected to grow enough in short order to make lower game prices viable.

How many of these seven games have you picked up since they got cheaper, dear readers?

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Microsoft hasn’t announced it yet, but we’ve caught wind of a mobile Xbox Live Easter sale. Or it could be a celebration of the Lumia 900's release - who knows? The following games are currently only 99 cents each:

This is easily the biggest and best sale on Windows Phone Xbox Live titles ever – seven titles is a lot, and they’re 66 percent off instead of the usual 33. Which games will you be picking up, awesome WPCentral readers? I probably had the most fun with Burn the Rope, but you can’t lose with most of these.

We don’t know the dates of the sale, but it’s likely to run at least through Sunday. This post will be updated should we spot an official date.

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Last week’s Xbox Live Deal of the Week, Bubble Town 2, may not have been very exciting but it was a pretty fun game. Still, this week’s Deal of the Week is clearly something special. Max and the Magic Marker is going on sale for $2.99, down from the regular price of $4.99. Keep in mind Max used to cost $6.99, so this is quite a savings.

Max and the Magic Marker is a puzzle-platformer in which the player draws objects directly into the game world via the touch screen. It features a bright, child-like art style and a soundtrack from eclectic Danish artists Analogik. Our review found it to be extremely creative. To learn more about Max, check out our interview with developer Press Play.

Max and the Magic Marker will be on sale for one week starting on Wednesday, July 13. If you’re a fan of platformers or puzzle games, don’t miss the chance to get it for only $2.99. You’ll find Max here (Zune link) on the Marketplace.

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Windows Phone gamers know developer Press Play from their beautiful and creative puzzle platformer, Max and the Magic Marker. The studio hasn't been resting on its laurels since that game's release. Today WPCentral brings you an interview with Thomas Gravgaard, senior software developer and project lead for Press Play’s Windows Phone titles. We’re especially proud to bring you the first screens and details of their upcoming Window Phone-exclusive Xbox Live game, Tentacles.

Slide past the break for the full interview and lots of Tentacley goodness.

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The last Xbox Live title we saw drop in price on Windows Phone 7 was Glow Artisan (Review) way back on February 10. I’m pleased to report that this week an astonishing three games have been reduced in price!

  • Max and the Magic Marker dropped from $6.99 to $4.99.
  • Rocket Riot is back to $4.99 again, down from $6.99.
  • Frogger was $2.99, but now it’s just $1.99. Frogger is the Xbox Live Deal of the Week.

Max and the Magic Marker is a puzzle-platformer in which the player draws objects directly into the game world via the touch screen. Our review found it to be extremely creative, though a tad overpriced at $6.99. The new price should be just right.

Rocket Riot is a side-view shooter with retro-inspired graphics. It controls exceptionally well for a touch-screen game and is just plain fun. At $6.99 I would have recommended that readers try before they buy, but $4.99 makes it a much more compelling purchase.

Frogger is a classic arcade game that, like Pac-Man, just doesn’t control well on a touch screen. But hey, it’s cheap! And we haven’t seen the $1.99 price point on Xbox Live titles before. Maybe other $3 games will become $2 games in the future too.

Every Xbox Live game for Windows Phone 7 has a free trial (not to mention delicious Achievements). You can get Max and the Magic Marker here (opens a link to your Zune software), Rocket Riot here, and Frogger h-e-r-e on the Marketplace. These price drops may not last forever, so don’t hesitate if you’re interested!

Update: We've learned that Frogger is on sale for one week, while Max and the Magic Marker and Rocket Riot's price drops are permanent.

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Max & the Magic Marker - Review

Max and the Magic Marker, another WiiWare title ported to WP7, currently has the most positive user-submitted reviews that I've read from any of the games in the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace. There's a really good reason for that. It's a great game with an appeal for a wide demographic. Youngsters will love the vibrant, imaginative gameplay and the cool characters. Cold-hearted cynics, like yours truly, will really get a kick out of the seamless combination of platforming and puzzle-solving mechanics that work phenomenally well with the little-big-kid heroics of the blissfully unfolding plot.

Read on to discover why Max deserves the hype and why the term 'magic marker' instead of just 'marker' became common vernacular.

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