Max Adventure

What we liked:
+ Intriguing plot
+ Well-tuned gameplay
+ Serviceable upgrade system keeps players hooked
What we didn't like:
- Controls are inevitably lacking
- Variety in level types often result in an inevitable escort mission
DEVELOPER: Imangi Studios, LLC   |   PUBLISHER: Imangi Studios, LLC   |   RELEASE: 12/19/2010

Throwing some new ideas into the mix.

With the amount of dual-stick shooters on the iPhone, you’d think the format was perfect for the game type. Unfortunately, the iPhone lacks the things that can really make a dual-stick shooter great, like, for instance, sticks. Still, the games keep coming, and apparently keep being hugely popular, with games like Minigore, Gun Brothers, and others earning popular and critical acclaim. What, then, sets Max Adventure apart from the crowd?

Mainly, variety and plot are what keep this game from being a total redundancy. Rather than simply challenge the player to constantly reach for the high score, it provides a set of levels to play through. Each level is different in gameplay and setting, and the mixture of variety in the mechanics and plot provide a unique dual-stick experience that manages to hook the fan of the genre.

Still, those who find dual-stick shooters on the iPhone to be sorely lacking in comparison to a console game like Geometry Wars (and I admit that I am among them) will find little reason to stick with this title. While variety between levels keeps the game fresh, much of the time the goal merely oscillates between shooting everything in sight and escorting someone to the end of the level while shooting everything else in sight. It’s a variety that would work if escort missions weren’t notoriously laborious and frustrating, and the situation is only worsened by the confined, limited touchscreen controls.

For fans of the genre and the format, though, this game’s the best of the best. The characters are likable, the plot is simple but engaging and often takes some absurd turns that can be quite entertaining. The upgrade system is a serviceable draw as well. Max Adventure is by no means the same game in a new skin, but it’s no revolution either.

Review copy provided by publisher.

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