Max Adventure Review

The government probably already has a plan queued up in case hostile alien life forms visit Earth. Here’s an addendum: If aliens land, lock everyone above the age of 10 in their garages. Adults are useless. It’ll take a kid like Max Adventure to save the world with a zap gun and a colander.

Max Adventure is a top-down dual-stick shooter that involves laser guns, power-ups, mowing down legions of enemies, and other good stuff. When aliens invade Earth, all the adults are hauled away, presumably to have terrible things done to their hind ends. A little boy named Max takes it upon himself to outsmart and outblast the aliens.

Suburban commando.

Max begins his adventure with a single alien ray gun. He wades through several levels, saving his friends, blasting bosses, and clearing the landscape of its slimy usurpers. The initial battleground is suburbia (you knew it was going to come down to that, someday), which gives Max plenty of shielding through fences, bushes, and swing sets. Cars can be detonated to take out aliens instantly. Max can also collect coins and treasure to buy weapon and status upgrades from a turncoat alien who loves the shiny stuff.

He’ll have to upgrade quickly, because the action in Max Adventure gets pretty intense within a few levels. In each level, alien pods fall from the sky and deposit hordes of monsters from beyond the stars until Max can evaporate the pod. If he didn’t pack the right brand of gun, he’ll be overwhelmed in seconds. Fortunately, Max can re-visit previous levels and pick up any missed coinage, and he can visit his alien merchant “friend” at any time from the menu.

Drive-by shooting.

Herein lies a minor complaint about Max Adventure: If Max screws up a level and dies, it’s back to Go. Not an unfair gameplay mechanic in itself, of course, but he loses whatever treasure he’s pocketed when he’s kicked back to the start of the level. In other words, money and temporary power-ups don’t leave with Max unless he completes the level objective and reaches the exit (and be warned: most exits are guarded ferociously by nests of enemy pods). This also happens if you quit a level early of your own accord.

But think of the inevitable level replays as a lesson in the old school of gaming. Besides, Max’s world is so much fun, you won’t mind staying a little longer. Even when the action becomes insanely thick, slowdown is a rare event. The sound effects are cute in a childlike way, though some of the alien squeals don’t come off as particularly threatening.

Max Adventure is put together by Imangi Studios, which gave the world Harbor Master. The gameplay in Max Adventure is a bit more complex than trying to head off horrible wrecks at sea, but it’s just as addictive and satisfying and will give you that same sense of “Just a little longer.” So go ahead and hunt some alien prey. Just don’t forget your colander.

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