Game Review: 2-D Max Demo by James Cook


2-D Max is a side-scroller adventure game for BlackBerry. Currently in Beta, the game is far from it’s final state. The developer, James Cook has released it to the public for free on BlackBerry App World.

Your character, 2-D Max must navigate a 2-D landscape filled with villains that can kill you with one touch, unless you stomp them directly on the head (very similar to Mario Brothers). The controls are tricky on a lot of BlackBerry devices. With small keys needing to be hit at the right times, playing anywhere but sitting down is difficult. The controls are such that you move 2-D Max with your right thumb and jump with your left; the opposite controls of Mario on NES or GameBoy.

I wish more mobile games took away the option of standing still. By developing the levels around forced walking and a “jump only” control scheme, the game becomes about the level design as opposed to slowly navigated difficult and dangerous landscapes.

The control scheme in 2-D Max would be great if I were holding an NES controller. On a BlackBerry keypad however, the tiny keys need to be hit at exactly the right time. Playing this game anywhere but sitting down is difficult. The controls are such that you move 2-D Max with your right thumb and jump with your left, the opposite controls of Mario, which this game is clearly modeled after.

What would make the controls great and the gameplay fun would be a forced forward pace. By having your character slowly advance forward, the focus would be shifted to timing the jumps, and adjusting your speed. Also, The platforms you are supposed to safely land on are very small, while the bottomless pits, spike pits, and other hazards are comparatively large. It often feels like I’m playing against my own mistakes rather than fighting foes.

The game is in Beta and has a few bugs mostly when I’m out of lives at the level selection screen for instance. The menu system needs big changes. The level information page for instance is nearly unlabeled. I’m sure it can tell me a lot of useful info if it were cleaned up and the information presented more simply. I feel that the game could use a substantial change in level design and controls. The developer has built a good engine but the play mechanics leave something to be desired - specifically something original and fun.

I give this game 1 star out of 5. To be fair, I’m judging it from a completed game standard. The game as-is could get another star by fixing the bugs, and making the menus better. If controls were re-worked and designed to be more fun than it is frustrating, my rating would dramatically improve.

Take part in the Beta and download 2-D Max from BlackBerry App World.

  • James

    Yey, my first ever review. Constructive and informative, I can use this to go forward with the game.

    If anyone who read this has any thoughts drop us a line:

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