Mixing platforming with puzzle solving, Max & The Magic Marker takes a note from Kirby Canvas Curse and Drawn To Life by encouraging the use of the player’s imagination.
Using the nunchuk/Wii remote combination, the player takes control of Max, a ginger who is transported into his own childish drawings. With the Wii remote’s IR sensor, the player will literally draw lines and shapes to get Max from Point A to Point B. Sometimes this task is easy while other times creativity will need to be involved.
Like Kirby Canvas Curse, the player is limited to how much ink can be placed on screen at one time. Lines must be drawn to cross gaps, platforms must be created to reach new heights, and squiggle marks can be used to crush enemies if dropped from a certain height. The game is physics based so drawing properly curving lines and shapes will become important to the player’s success.
The game’s biggest challenge is figuring out how your drawn lines will interactive with the rest of the environment. If you need to cross a gap, draw one connecting line, but just be sure to install some type of anchor point in case you wind up pushing it out of the way while walking across. Need to reach a high ledge? Then drawing steps can make you reach your goal. Just be sure that some type of support beam is there to support your structure. Sure the game has a ton of puzzle of like this, but your engineering skills will always be your biggest asset.
Sketching platforms is only one part of the game. This magic marker also has the ability to take a more offensive approach. Drawing a solid circle in the sky could easy crush an enemy. Defensively, Max will often have to create umbrella-like covering structures to avoid rain and other falling dangers. Anvils can also be drawn and dropped on catapults to allow Max to reach high ledges. Creativity is always in the forefront of Max and the Magic Marker as there is usually more than one way to find a solution.
To increase replay value, each stage has a number of different hidden items to find. In order to collect these items, usually clever thinking and design must be involved. Do not be surprised if you complete a level without even seeing one of these hidden objects as they can be integrated quite well in the design of a level, especially in the later stages.
Occasionally throughout each level, Max will lose all his ink in his marker. This will force Max to rely solely on his jumping ability to collect more ink. It is times like these that the player will feel more vulnerable which also adds an extra gameplay element. If you lose your ink, you will probably need to find some more quickly in order to survive the next challenge. Although some players are bound to think of this lose/collect gameplay technique is tedious and repetitive, it can also be seen as an interesting game design decision as it introduces a new way to play and creates a smaller sense of desperation.
Max and the Magic Marker is a game with high potential and always uses the player’s creativity before anything else. For 1000 Nintendo Points ($10), this is one game that is recommended. Strangely enough, this game is also available on PC but sells for double the price. However, some players might think mouse control is better than painting with the Wii remote. Either way, this is a more laid back and enjoyable game than anyone in the house can appreciate. The challenge in each stage is usually high enough to gently tease the mind without creating frustration. If you enjoyed Kirby’s Canvas Curse or are looking for the next puzzling platformer, this could be a good way to spend 1000 Nintendo Points.