Max Adventure Review: iPad Game Apps
While every kid has dreams of saving his town from outside invasion, these visions are culturally filtered. Kids in Africa might fight off hordes of rogue elephants, while Japanese kids fire missiles at Godzilla.
Max Adventure is that dream seen though sleepy North American eyes, with our little fella running around white picket-fenced suburbia with a colander on his head and a stolen ray gun in his hand, shooting space aliens who have abducted all the adults.
Doing it for the kids:
To that extent, this twin-stick shooter for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is a comfortable, kid-paced experience.
As if it were designed in thick, unbreakable plastic, it’s a game with bold, chunky graphics, straightforward levels with linear progression, and simple power-up system. Apart from a couple of difficulty spikes towards the end, it’s a veritable walk in the park.
This doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. Indeed, perhaps the most surprising thing about Max Adventure is how coherently and well presented it is.
From the opening cut-scene and pleasant user interface to the funny beep beep sounds of the little slime monsters and colorful zaps of your laser gun, everything in the game’s 19 levels is a delight.
Pretty Little Touches:
It’s a feeling that feeds into the game play, too.
As you wander around rescuing your friends, picking up gold coins as you go, alien pods fall down to earth, spawning a variety of odd creatures, all of which are out to get you. Some swarm you in groups, while hardier types go straight for you on their own. Others fire energy bolts, and some have the power of tele portation to further confuse.
When you shoot the ones piloting UFOs, you can take over the craft for a short time, gaining speed and the ability to move more easily around the levels.
As well earning you coins, shooting things enables you to get power-ups such as better guns and health. These are temporary, but between levels you can spend coins on permanent versions.
And firepower may be where Max Adventure works best.
Providing an adolescent version of the bullet hell of hardcore shoot-’em-ups, the controls are generally smooth enough that you can glide between the laser bolts and alien attacks sent your way.
Finger on the Trigger:
This game play gets progressively more dense towards the end with the introduction of fixed turrets, which regularly spit out waves of bolts. Here, the action becomes almost rhythmic as you maneuver, although a robust health system with a slow regeneration option means you rarely face sudden death if you have a mishap.
Of course, compared to the multitude of other twin-stick shooters available on the App Store, Max Adventure isn’t pushing any hardcore tropes.
It’s fairly sedate, not graphically intensive or narratively avant garde. While the Campaign mode takes four hours or so to complete, replay value is limited to a Survival mode and Game Center achievements and leaderboards.
It won’t impress all, but as a polished gaming experience that provides great value, it’s hard to find fault with Max Adventure. Sweet dreams.