Maximo: Ghosts to Glory Review
The graphics are simple yet endearing, the gameplay is repetitive but solid, and the game's design is a throwback to the 16-bit era.
Maximo has a nice, clean look, but there are several aspects of its graphics that give its Nintendo 64 heritage away. The environments are particularly telling due to their simplistic construction--there is very little in the way of architectural detail. However, the character models used for the game are anything but simplistic. Maximo looks great--featuring some impressive head tracking--and the enemies feature the same polished design. Unfortunately, there are just a handful of enemies in the game, and continually fighting the same ghouls can bog the game down in monotony. Special effects such as volumetric fog are used to great effect, but others such as the real-time lighting are almost distractingly poor. Maximo's shadow is jagged and pixilated, and it looks out of place among the rest of the simplistic-yet-cool visuals. Though lacking in detail, the worlds themselves are fairly large and are bolstered by the stereotypical snow, swamp, and graveyard motifs. The simplistic environments aid in keeping the frame rate consistent, and in turn, the animations are also smooth. After completing each of the primary sections of the game, the player is rewarded with FMV sequences that move the plot forward, but since they're used so little throughout the game, they can make the experience a disjointed one. The primary issue with Maximo's graphics is its finicky camera. It accomplishes the task at hand while in open areas, but when adventuring through the game's many cramped environments, it can present issues. Enemies attack from all angles, and the camera is so slow to respond to commands that you're often struck by enemies you can't even see. If Maximo were able to absorb a great deal of damage this wouldn't be a glaring issue, but death occurs far too often thanks to the lethargic camera--making an already difficult game even more confounding.
The sound in Maximo gets the job done with few frills. The voice acting for the FMV sequences is quite convincing and the sound effects are excellent, but the music (though appropriate and catchy) repeats throughout the game's entirety. A wider selection of tracks would have been a welcome addition, and a greater variety of sound effects for the same actions would have aided in increasing the game's level of immersion.
Maximo is an entertaining 3D platformer with a few rough edges that keep it from attaining greatness. The graphics are simple yet endearing, the gameplay is repetitive but solid, and the game's design is a throwback to the 16-bit era. If you have a short attention span or require run-and-gun action from your video games, Maximo's plodding gameplay will be a turnoff. But if you're a detail-oriented person or a fan of games from a generation ago, Maximo is more than worth your hard-earned dollar.