Max and the Magic Marker
Like 5Th Cell's innovative DS title, Scribblenauts, Max and the Magic Marker's core gameplay is focused on an open-ended world where challenges can be solved through countless creative solutions.
- An innovative gaming experience with multiple brain-teasing platform puzzles
- Challenges a player's patience more than their brains, controls are fickle, gameplay is repetitive.
With complex physics and the ability to create whatever your heart desires, Max and the Magic Marker follows the same path that the charming Scribblenauts paved last year. But even solid emergent gameplay can't make up for the many faults which ruins this half-hearted platforming adventure.
Like 5Th Cell's innovative DS title, Scribblenauts, Max and the Magic Marker's core gameplay is focused on an open-ended world where challenges can be solved through countless creative solutions. Gamers are given a magic marker that transforms their drawings into tangible objects that can run the gamut from simple one-stroke bridges to far more complex mechanisms. Your creativity and the amount of ink you possess are your only real limitations.
For instance, in the second of the game's three worlds -- a pirate-laden jungle -- Max needs to scale volcanoes of various sizes. For a short volcano, a simple ramp, step-stool, or staircase may do the trick. However, a taller volcano may require a more complex drawing; say, a long vertical line with several ladder-esque rungs that Max can climb. But a towering, skyscraper-sized volcano will need a little more ingenuity -- in my case, I drew a horizontal line to act as a teeter-totter, balanced it on a triangle, and then created a boulder as a counter-weight to catapult Max up and over the volcano's peak.
Unfortunately, the game's potential is limited by the crude controls and the disappointing way in which the drawing and platforming aspects are integrated. On the PC, you use the arrow keys to move Max and the mouse to control the magic marker. Having to frequently pause the game in order to draw creates an uneven stop-and-go pace that makes high-speed chases and boss battles difficult to enjoy. To top it off, creating perfectly straight lines with the mouse can prove more than challenging. Unless you have the hands of a neuro-surgeon, your creations may not even work.
As irksome as the mouse can be, using the "Up" arrow key to jump and climb is the real deal-breaker. Having to smash two arrow keys simultaneously to jump in a given direction doesn't work more than half the time, often sending Max head-first down a chasm or into an enemy.
In the end, it often comes down to understanding the solution but not being able to feasibly execute it. Add these difficulties to a rather repetitive five-hour adventure, and the game becomes more of a chore than an adventure. It's painful to see a game with so much innovation hampered by poor execution. A better interface, improved controls and a greater sense of variety could have made Max and the Magic Marker another vivid and imaginative title on par with 5th Cell's Scribblenauts. Sadly, the game fails to reach its full potential.
Join the newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Miofive 4K Dash Cam review: This friendly road watcher is ‘here for you!’
- 2 Dell U3223QE review: A winning debut for an IPS Black monitor
- 3 Netgear Nighthawk M5 mobile router review: Probably too expensive, but nice
- 4 Asus TUF Gaming VG28UQL1A review: This 4K monitor plays nice with consoles
- 5 Firewalla Gold review: Powerful home network security in a tiny box
Latest News Articles
- This real-life “aimbot” uses a physical mouse to cheat at shooting games
- Bethesda’s classic Elder Scrolls games arrive on Steam—for free
- We tested 22 different RPGs on the Steam Deck
- Steam Deck’s first major update adds a lock screen, Windows 11 support
- Sony is getting serious about bringing more PlayStation games to the PC
PCW Evaluation Team
Set up is effortless.
The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.
Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
- 100 Great PC Games You Should Play Before You Die
- Best Click Frenzy mobile and Internet plan deals
- Microsoft’s iconic browser Internet Explorer is being killed off in June
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies