Version Reviewed: 1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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Initially easily dismissed as a bit of a Temple Run clone, Max Steel proves quite pleasantly more original than that, even if it is guaranteed to challenge much of its core market.
Starting out fairly simply, players mostly spend the early minutes swiping up, down, left, and right in order to dodge various rock based obstacles. Along the way there are plenty of coins to collect; all feeling really quite predictable. Max Steel breaks these moments up with something a little different though: namely a series of battles with enemy robots. This is where Max Steel turns much more interesting, and much harder.
Fighting is pretty simple to get involved with. Tapping on an enemy causes Max to run across to them and begin punching away. Dodging is vital though, as throughout this enemies can punch back or shoot lasers towards our hero. The latter can prove beneficial, however, given that Max can dodge out of the way and let another robot take the hit. Timing is everything and this continues with the finishing blows available. At regular points, the player must trace a pattern quickly on screen, before tilting their iOS device to line up with a reticule and landing the final blow. It's less complicated than it sounds, fortunately, but that doesn't mean that Max Steel is easy.
During the first main section of the game battles are pretty simple to traverse but reach the city, the second section, and things get much tougher. Max has a certain amount of health to withstand blows, but it's still tricky stuff. Especially with no checkpoints scattered around each stage. A boss battle at the end of each thematic section proves particularly fearsome.
An upgrade system helps to an extent by enabling players to spend coins to boost Max's skills, but it's slow going at times so do expect some grinding. At times the swipe controls can be a little unresponsive, too, proving an occasional hindrance amongst such a fast-paced title.
There remains something quite endearing about Max Steel, though, with much of that thanks to its action being interspersed by comic book panels explaining all. While a smoother learning curve would have been better for younger gamers enticed by the cartoon of the same name, it's still a quite solid if sometimes demanding Runner game.