This “classic” is back, with an authentic modern-look version, but whether that’s a good thing is up for debate
Joe & Max was actually one of the earlier games I picked up on my SNES way back in the day, me being a general dinosaur fan. While it looked pretty cool, no doubt, I unfortunately was never very impressed with what I’d consider its sloppy play. Many generations later now and the stone age duo are back and look better than ever… but unfortunately it appears the goal was to recreate the authentic play, for better or worse, of the original games rather than do anything to improve them. I suppose I could respect that to a degree but there being no instruction to tell people the basic controls, or that more critically holding down the attack button will release a charged version of your weapon, is really getting off on the wrong foot seemingly pre-assuming the only audience for the game will be the already initiated. Arcade cabinets had basic instructions on the control panel generally, and classic console games at least came with basic manuals, but it’s all fend for yourself here. Worse, the controls in the original were always dodgy at best and not even that has been improved here. Your attacks lack in range, jumping is a hot and floaty mess in general, and you tend to feel quite incapable as a hero the majority of the time. For those who have nostalgia for these guys it may be what you’ve dreamed of, revisiting the classic feel with a reskinned look. For anyone who doesn’t have those rose-colored glasses to look through this will likely just feel like a pretty but clunky arcade conversion.
Justin Nation, Score: