Maximo vs. Army of Zin
For the last few months there has been an overwhelming offer of platform games, which makes me a very happy man. I can imagine that it is hard to pick one out though and I guess that is why you are reading this review. Completely useless, because as a platformgame fanatic you just have to buy “Maximo vs. Army Of Sin”. The reason I am still making this review is to make your mouth water and to let you know what is so great about it, besides it is my duty to write reviews and if I would stop with the introduction, I gather that my mailbox will soon be overloaded with angry mails. So here is the general storyline.
“Maximo” takes on an army of robot-like creatures that get their energy from a soul, each of them locked up in a soulstone and it is your duty to free all those souls. On your journey you will travel through countless different landscapes and villages in the most varying levels and areas. If you encounter other citizens, saving their lives is your priority, especially because they reward you with gold or health. If you see a sweet and tiny rabbit hopping in the grass, make sure you kick its ass, not for the gold coins you make, but at least this way you will you’re your revenge you for encounters later on. Believe me, you’ll know what I mean.
The levels and models are terrific, de atmosphere in the levels is indescribable and “Maximo” looks refined and tough, even in his boxershorts. The cutscenes do contribute to this sphere, which would not be as great as it is without these outstanding graphics. The army of opponents is very original and they make impressive moves, a dog/tiger combination that attacks you, a scarecrow that throws his exploding pumpkin head at you, a ghost pirate who is of course after your gold firing bullets and so on. The menu is extremely clear and easy readable, that is not such a great merit since there are about 10 options it has to contain, but it allows you to burst on the x-button and the game will be loaded and booted in 5 seconds.
The clinking sound of golden coins you pick up, the furious strokes with your sword on the metal monsters, the poisonous puffing mushrooms, … it all adds its part to the enchanting atmosphere in which you will find yourself almost instantly. Although the voices are good, it is a shame that the characters don’t speak the words they have to say, you will have to read the subtitles yourself and be satisfied with a spoken “Thank you.”. This is the only thing I can find to criticise though, so don’t let this restrain you to play, or should I say live, this game.
The gameplay is perfect, even in the smallest detail. The controls immediately feel natural and there is a learning curve of about one minute (and that is the way we like it). Do realise one thing though, this game is not some easy running, jumping and button bashing fighting, you will have to put in a lot of effort and concentrate extremely well in order to finish a level, I can guarantee you that your forehead will be nothing bathed in sweat. It is not as easy to jump from platform to platform because there are a number of factors putting you under pressure and if you make a mistake, the penalty will be severe. Dying is restarting the level, unless you still have a life left because that allows you to restart from the last checkpoint. The three lives you get at the beginning are spoiled fairly quick and if you get an opportunity to buy one, it will cost you a lot of coins. The fights are numerous, but remain challenging because you have to do everything yourself and you cannot afford to lose to much health, especially because this health is never restored in between two levels.
Like I said earlier, the monsters get their energy from a soulstone and of course that is their week spot, so you will have to try to hit them there and that is what makes the fighting as interesting as it is. In order to hit them appropriately you can slam with a sword or a hammer in two different ways or use your shield to throw or hit a near by enemy.
The puzzles and riddles are fun too and you will have to be inventive to solve them, but they are just perfect in their difficulty, because you won’t need to consult a walkthrough to get further. The practical solution is lesser evident, because accuracy, speed and handiness will be required to complete them under the constant pressure of making the final mistake that can happen everywhere. This could get some of you frustrated, but you have to put those feelings aside, realise that it is you that failed and restart the level. The satisfaction is ten times greater when you had to try the level five times before making it to the final jump a success in order to complete the level.
Are you a lover of challenging platform games, just buy “Maximo vs. Army Of Sin”. I find it difficult to say negative things as the gameplay is exceptional, the graphics and the way they are brought are enchanting which is the same for the sound and the story is as it should be in a platformer. This game is not immensely big, but because of the difficulty you will have to play a lot to finish your journey, even if you are an experienced player like me (smiles). So this is a game that can compete with the top five games of its genre like “Jak&Daxter”.