Max and the Magic Marker (WiiWare) – Review

A WiiNintendo game review by hattrick.

Game – Max & the Magic Marker
Version – WiiWare (only version available) for 1,000 Points
Obtained – Review Copy from TriplePoint

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Introduction and Story
The basic premise of this game is simple and straightforward – you are a boy who comes into contact with a magic marker. This marker has the ability to bring life to whatever you draw. There is a villain who does not want you to succeed.  He takes your ink, throws items at you, and basically tries to ruin your day. You must, instead, overcome the enemy and reach the end of each level.  In the process, you will use your magic marker to draw lines, shapes, and objects to help you in your quest. This might be as simple as drawing a bridge to cross a body of water or a bunker to keep you safe from falling rocks. At some point you may draw a large item to drop on a seesaw, while later, you are drawing both the item and the seesaw. You must always be on your toes, because you never know what adventure Max will encounter next.

Gameplay
This is your basic puzzle-platformer.  As you progress, the levels get more and more difficult.  The puzzles ramp up, and the amount of time you spend restarting increases.  This is a great example of how games, when done well, can appeal to both the casual and hardcore gamer. The gameplay can also attract crowds. Although, it is a single-player outing, many people might gather around the TV to work together figuring out the more advanced puzzles. Another praise about Max is the amount of replay value. Each level has a goal for your completion time. After completing each level, there is a good chance you will want to replay it, trying to beat your best time, all while trying to find all the hidden gems along the way.

Controls
The controls are as simple as the story.  You will use the Wii Remote as your marker. Hold A to draw, and use B as your eraser.  The Nunchuk’s analog stick is used to move Max. The Z button controls the jump.  This uncomplicated control scheme works very well, except for one odd choice. The developers thought, for whatever reason, that the jump button, when held down, needed to make Max jump repeatedly. This causes for many unfortunate deaths. In most other platform games, the only way to jump repeatedly is to hit the button over and over.  Due to this ingrained thought, I often held the button down way too long, and ended up jumping to my demise.

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Atmosphere (Visuals and Sound)
The menu system and overall look of the game reminds me of World of Goo or Drawn to Life, which is a good thing.  The menus are also simple and easy to understand. The game also has the look of being hand-drawn, which fits perfectly with the theme. In fact, when necessary, you can pause time and “step out of your imagination” to draw an item. When you do this, everything on the screen freezes and looks like it was drawn by a kindergartner. This gives a cute but fascinating look to the game. The levels have depth, and often you feel as if you are running through a cartoon.  The music, while fun and fitting, can get repetitive.  It contains peppy midi-like tunes that change with every world. The unfortunate part is that you will spend a long time finishing one world before moving on to the next. Nonetheless, the music will stay the same until you reach it.  I must have heard the world-1 song one hundred times or more before finally making it to the next world, which also contained a similar midi-loop.  While this may be fun for a while, you will soon be adding your own soundtrack instead.

Concluding Overall Impressions
While I did have some complaints about the jumping and music, I believe they are definitely overpowered by the strengths of the puzzles, visuals, and platforming elements.  For a mere 1,000 Points (or roughly $10), there is hardly a better way to spend a few hours. And when you finish, you can always go back to better your time.

FINAL SCORE: 5 out of 5

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More Info:

  • My Live-Stream of Max & the Magic Marker
  • Developer: Press Play
  • Publisher: Press Play
  • The Features
    • 15 inventive and puzzling levels
    • Unique drawing control in a truly dynamic physics environment
    • 3 beautiful worlds inspired by childrens drawings
    • Death traps, monsters, and challenging puzzles
    • Unlockable challenges, secrets and rewards
    • Original and awesome soundtrack by Analogik
  • Wallpaper

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About the author:

Steve has been a Nintendo fan since the NES. He currently owns a NES, SNES, N64, GameCube, Wii, Wii U, GameBoy, DS, DSi, 3DS, and 3DS XL. His favorite types of games are action platformers and multiplayer “party” games. Overall, he loves a game that is pure fun and pulls him in for hours, and if that can be shared with friends, it is even better.

Steve has been blogging for NintendoFuse since April 2008. He started off as an avid reader, and eventually was asked to jump on the team. Currently, he enjoys writing game reviews and sharing breaking news with the fans and readers. You will also find him on the forums as an admin.

Steve – who has written posts on NintendoFuse.


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