Max & The Magic Marker PS3 Review

Nowadays, it seems as if many are trying to cash in on the ‘hand-drawn’ craze. Games like Scribblenauts on the Nintendo DS and even Doodle Jump on iOS deliver ‘scribbled’ graphics that are incredibly cute and inspire you to color outside of the lines. Creativity is often rewarded in such games, with surprisingly challenging hurdles to overcome usually present underneath their charming veneer. Max & The Magic Marker: Gold Edition definitely gets the homemade visuals right, but falls a little short in the ‘challenging’ department.

The story of Max & The Magic Marker is told in a simple, uncomplicated, and endearing way. Through drawings, it is revealed that a young red-headed boy named Max receives a magical orange marker by chance and decides to draw a monster. Surprise surprise, the big baddie comes to life and begins to terrorize all of Max’s other drawings. Being the young hero that he is, Max chooses to draw himself into his own world in order to chase down and rid his drawing worldof the menace.

Gameplay is simple, with platforming elements aplenty. Throughout most of the game, you’ll find yourself jumping from platform to platform with the main goal of reaching the level’s ‘vortex’, a portal that signifies the end and completion of a stage. The locales in which you will play aren’t extremely varied, but get the job of providing a suitable setting done and look pretty good in HD. At the start of each stage (of which there are about 60), your Magic Marker will be empty. It is your duty to collect orange ink-filled orbs, which will in turn fill your marker and enable you to draw contraptions and creations of various magnitude and size that will aid you in your journey to…more stages.

I applaud Max & The Magic Marker for its superb visuals. Colors are bold, sharp, and clean in a well-animated and stylish fashion. Upon entering ‘Freeze’, a mode that freezes gameplay and gives you time to think/draw, the game will switch to an art style you’d find in a kindergartner’s coloring book. During Freeze Mode, everything is depicted in a scraggly, 2D, sketched style. Small touches like these are a simple delight and show that even the simplest things, when done right, can impress.

Sounds weren’t exactly delightful. Repetition set in quite early as I got around to hearing the title’s entire soundtrack, in which maybe 4 or 5 tracks were present. Effects such as drawing and picking up collectibles all sounded crisp and clear. I can’t say that the repetition was inexcusable, but it definitely left something to be desired. Hearing the same ‘level complete’ jingle for the 50th time did get a little aggravating however, and at times even caused me to take a break from the game altogether.

The Marker’s mechanics were a blast to use. I was unable to test Move functionality for the mechanic due to not owning the peripheral. Most drawings that I created via the analog stick were a little rough around the edges, but got the job done. You’ll find no trouble playing this game with the default Sony© pad.

Max & The Magic Marker is a solid bit of fun. Controls are sharp and responsive and the game’s colour palette is smooth and rich. While the title does fall short in the sound department, it does not completely ruin the playing experience. If you’re in the market for a solid platformer that utilizes an intuitive drawing system, then don’t hesitate to pick up Max & The Magic Marker during your next PSN Shopping Spree.

7/10

by

Version tested: PS3

Also available on: Wii, PC, Mac, iOS, Windows Phone 7

Developer: Press Play

Publisher: PAN Vision

Genre: 2D Platformer