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SummaryDon't be scared off by the daunting difficulty level - Maximo is worth every penny.
The GoodThe first level has one of the catchiest songs in video game history since Super Mario Brothers. Don't believe me? Load it up yourself. Maximo is a true game in every sense of the word. In Maximo, the game itself is the most important element. Basically, you play the sword and shield weilding Maximo, and your job is to save the princess and fend off hoardes of evil monsters on the way. If you've ever played Frogger, at no point did it represent itself as anything other than a brilliant game. Maximo, for all of its nifty graphics and humor, is a brilliant game. As you progress in Maximo, you will collect special powerups, such as the ability to perform a more powerful, but slower attack, or making your shield turn into a lightning rod/frisbee hybrid. Essentially, you will inherit a whole slew of cool things you can do with your sword and shield. The unbelievable thing about Maximo is that each and every one of these attacks has a very specific purpose. For every type of enemy there is to vanquish, there is a most effective way to achieve vanquishment, and that way is left to be discovered by the player. What I really appreciate about this game is not that it's particulary complicated (which it is), it's simple enough to be all about the players skill. There is so much more satisfaction in finishing something when you know it was your own skill, not how much experience your character had, that allowed you to overcome that final boss. Maximo has this: a sense of accomplishment. Everything you do right in Maximo is rewarded gracefully and pleasingly, everything you do wrong is punished gently, but sternly. The experience of the game was so much about how good you were at playing it, and so little about anything else (be it "cheap" monsters or AI or "overpowered" weapons), that at some points I couldn't help but smile at how great a job these guys did putting this game together.
The BadIt's hard. Maximo is the game that drove your three year old cousin to throw a temper tantrum over the PlayStation 2, causing your parents to "take the system away". It's manageable, but younger gamers and light hearted fellows need not apply. The advantage of having a game that requires you to advance with it is that the difficulty level is pretty constant - as you improve, so do your enemies. The downside is that there isn't such thing as a break. Maximo doesn't allow players to stop and breath with an easier part of a level - it's all fire and brimstone in this world, and there's almost nothing you can do to ameliorate symptom.