Max and the Magic Marker

Common Sense Media says

Great strategy adventure with physics lessons built in.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Ease of play

Drawing on the touchscreen is very easy and precise. Moving around with the arrow controls in the corners works reasonably well, too. It would be helpful if you were able to zoom out, though.

Violence & scariness

Max can die by touching bad guys or falling into pits. If he dies, he simply starts the level over. He can squash evil blobs by drawing objects and letting them fall to squash the villains. They usually simply disappear, but the larger ones let out a purplish splash.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism

A button on the title page will take you to a store to buy more EA games.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable
Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Max and the Magic Marker is the app version of a computer game of the same name. Its story is an imaginative one, in which a young boy named Max uses a special marker to sketch a blobby bad guy into one of his drawings, only to see that villain come to life and wreak havoc among Max's artwork. Max then draws himself into the picture and sets out to stop the Gobos (as they are called) from destroying his sketch world. The game is a great physics lesson, as every item that kids draw into the scene reacts to gravity as it would in the real world. There is some minor cartoony violence, as Max squishes the Gobos to defeat them -- they generally splat into nothingness, but larger ones let out a purplish splash. There are two versions of this game, which are the same except for the high definition graphics found in the iPad version called Max and the Magic Marker for iPad ($4.99). The iPhone/iPod Touch version only cost $1.99.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • gravity
  • physics

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

Works wonderfully as a touch-controlled app game -- better than the original PC game, actually. Story is imaginative and artwork is clean and colorful, with clever whimsical touches. 

Learning Approach

Kids are empowered as they put their mark on Max's world. What's more, their drawings have function, and, since kids can draw anything they want with their spray paint, they get to experiment with different techniques.

Support

Players earn stars by completing a level within a designated time limit or collecting special objects along the way.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Science

  • gravity
  • physics

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • problem solving

Creativity

  • developing novel solutions

Kids can learn basic concepts of physics, movement, prediction, and logic in Max and the Magic Marker. Kids playfully experiment with leverage and gravity as they make imaginative drawings that get Max through the game. Moderately geared toward making art with a purpose, this app is a solid mix of fun and physics.

This Learning Rating review was written by Ingrid Simone

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What's it about?

Kids control Max's orange marker by using their finger to draw lines, shapes, and other objects. The objects help Max on his quest to keep evil blob creatures from destroying his sketch world. Kids will draw stairs, ramps, bridges, levers, and other items. Gravity in the game works much like it would in real life, so you need to anchor anything you draw to keep it from sliding away. Players earn stars by completing a level within a designated time limit or collecting special objects along the way of this 2-D platform adventure.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

MAX AND THE MAGIC MARKER works wonderfully as a touch-controlled app game -- better than it did as a mouse-controlled PC game, actually. Using your finger as the "magic marker" provides much more precision than was possible with a computer mouse, which you will appreciate when you're drawing bridges for Max to walk across, steps for him to jump up, or heavy weights to release on top of bad blobs, causing them to squish. The story is imaginative (and is essentially an ode to imagination itself) and the artwork is clean and colorful, with clever whimsical touches. The levels start out pretty easy to get through, but as you go on (and there are more than 50 levels), you'll really be racking your brain to figure out how to make it to the end. It's a great game for thinking kids.

Families can talk about...

  • Connect gameplay to the physics of everyday life, such as ball rolling or the action of a seesaw.

  • Steer kids who love drawing toward this title. They can learn some basic physics concepts while channeling their inner Picasso.

App details

Devices:iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Price:$1.99-$4.99
Release date:March 26, 2011
Category:Strategy Games
Publisher:Electronic Arts
Version:1.0.9
Minimum software requirements:iOS 3.2 or later

This review of Max and the Magic Marker was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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