Some games get a lot of attention because of something novel: they'll offer a new twist on a tired genre or create a whole new type of gameplay to geek out on.  Other games, however, do good by just sticking to the traditional formula, all while doing a bang-up job of it.  Max Adventure, a new dual-stick shooter, belongs in that last category.

The story is basic.  There's an alien invasion and you will save the world, using a ray gun and a colander helmet to start with.  You get a quick feel of the mechanics early on at the very first level, so you'll be ready to shoot an endless array of colorful life forms coming at you at each succeeding maze-like stage.

Controls are typical.  You get two virtual thumbsticks on either side, with a mini-map in the middle, showing you nearby kids to rescue and the level exit.   Missions can vary  from level to level: some require merely finding kids to save them, others will have you escorting them amidst attacking aliens, and other similar variations on the general theme.

There's a good variety in the enemy aliens, as well, which will require some amount of strategizing (not too much, though -- this is still a shoot-em-up at heart).  You can find power-ups along the way, but you can only hold on to one at a time.  There's a neat upgrade system, too, that allows you to get more sophisticated weapons, equipment and abilities.

The biggest problem people have with dual-stick shooters is their tendency to become repetitive after a couple of levels.  That, fortunately, isn't a problem here.  The variety in levels and enemy aliens actually manage to keep things fresh (well, as fresh as this genre can get anyway) from start to finish.

While there's nothing groundbreaking to rave about Max Adventure, it is a well-made game with sound gameplay and adequate challenge.  It's available now for 99-cents.

[Imangi]

 

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