Max and the Magic Marker, from Electronic Arts, is the latest (and surely not the last) “touch screen artwork” style game inspired by titles such as Scribblenauts and Drawn to Life. It was originally released for the PC, Mac, and WiiWare before making its way to the iOS.
The games main hook is using Max’s titular magic marker to draw and object and have it appear on the screen. You can use this technique to reach new heights, traverse dangerous terrain, and defeat enemies. The game is broken up into levels that grade you with stars based on how quickly you complete the level and whether or not you collect all the items. You don’t need to get a perfect score (or even a good one) to pass each stage.
Max the Magic Marker tries to pretend that it is a puzzle/platforming game. However there is very little puzzle solving to be done and the platforming is wonky at best. Controlling Max himself is awkward and he never seems to want to be in the same place that the player wants him to be. The drawing aspect is where the “puzzle” element comes in. However the game frequently shows you exactly where and how to draw whatever it is you need to complete the level.
The game fares best in the presentation department. The graphical style has lots of charm. Everything has a nice, cute look about it. Even the enemies are so cute that you almost don’t want to kill them. The music is not spectacular but nor is it intrusive or annoying.
Max and the Magic Marker doesn’t offer up anything we haven’t seen before. It has no real draw (heh) that sets itself apart from other touch screen artwork games. But if you are a rabid fan of that sort of thing, you’ll find Max’s adventure to be an adequate addition to your library.