It's hard to spend more than a few minutes with Max Awesome without coming to the realization that without the popular PSN and XBLA Joe Danger series, it's very unlikely this game would even exist. You're a stuntman. You need to race your way through a series of scrolling courses which become increasingly packed with daring jumps, perilous pits and inconveniently placed obstacles.
Max himself is controlled with just a handful of buttons. For the most part you're going to be racing forward with as much speed as you can muster using the accelerator, but you'll also need to duck under little gates, or tap the screen for a quick jump so you can grab more of the goodies that are spread around each stage. If you've grabbed enough height from a jump, you can also perform slow front and back-flips to give your final score a decent boost.
There are 60 levels to whizz through in Max Awesome, and each one comes with a selection of different objectives. You'll have to beat a certain time, grab all of the helmet icons on the screen or just hit all of the targets that are spread around the course. Succeeding at these and others will give you Fame credits which are required to unlock new levels and stages. Suffice to say, you're unlikely to achieve all of these in one attempt so there's a fair amount of level grind if you want to make progress.
Interestingly enough, the Challenge levels require you to do exactly that, and hit every last one of the level's objectives in one pristine attempt. They're fun to work on for the most part, although we must admit to the occasional moment of frustration when our taps of the jump button didn't register just as we wanted them to, and we found ourselves only just missing out on victory.
One way to improve your chances of success is to invest the 'Awesome' currency you earn through gameplay into the upgrade store. Here you can kit Max out in different outfits for score multiplier bonuses, grab new and zippier bikes, or pick up some new tricks to pad out your points score.
From a performance perspective, we found on our second-generation iPad that the menus could be quite "sticky" to navigate, and the gameplay itself wasn't as smooth as we'd have liked. It's fair to say though that you become acclimatized to some of these quirks in the game pretty quickly. The graphics are pretty rudimentary given the obvious comparison, but it's still a colorful game with plenty of daftness that kids in particular will enjoy.
It's very hard in the final analysis to make an overwhelming recommendation for Max Awesome. It borrows very heavily from the likes of Joe Danger, yet it doesn't come close to the polish, fun or charming delights of that popular series. It's a competent enough arcade racer though, and one that will reward those gamers who have the patience to overlook the game's shortcomings.
What's Hot: A solid enough stunt racer with a decent selection of levels and plenty of tricks to pull off.
What's Not: This is a very derivative game and there's not the polish or charm that the obvious comparison demands.