Lead designer Mikkel Martin Pederson says that his favorite game, the PC and PlayStation classic Heart of Darkness, is an influence on Max: The Curse of Brotherhood. You can definitely see the influence in the game’s general art direction. The assorted monsters and puzzle solving shown also seemed to express elements of Heart of Darkness.

We saw a brief trailer for the upcoming Xbox Live Arcade game during Microsoft’s press conference, but Pederson was present at the show to offer a more detailed look at the sequel to Max and the Magic Marker’s puzzle solving.

We see the game in action and some of the new puzzles and the stronger focus on platforming. The original Max title (which released on just about everything but Xbox 360) let players use Max’s magic marker pretty much whenever he wanted, but in the sequel you will only be able to take advantage of the marker’s specific abilities in certain instances.

For example, if you need to draw water to solve puzzle, there will be a well of water ink nearby. This allows the puzzles to be more focused and geared towards specific solutions. Pederson says that in the previous game, players would just draw stairs to get wherever they needed to go. Players weren’t forced to figure out different solutions. In Curse of Brotherhood, there is no more free drawing.

In regards to the platforming, there is more this time around. We see Max sliding down hills, while the ground disappears below him. We see one scenario where Max has to jump at the last second to avoid a pit, he slows time mid-air, and use his marker to draw a stream of water that carries him safely to the ledge.

We also see Max raise platforms from the ground to prevent objects from crushing him, and set enemies on fire by drawing fire on them. The drawing mechanic seems similar to Okami. You pause the game (or in this case slow it down dramatically) and Max’s marker appears on screen and you use the control stick to draw what is needed.

Pederson is quick to point out that Max is not a free to play game. It’s a full game featuring seven to eight hours of gameplay. Max: The Curse of Brotherhood is coming exclusively to Xbox Live arcade for 1200 Microsoft Points this Spring.