Max's Big Bust is a Life Sim/Visual Novel that follows the story of two cops, Max and Brad, as they investigate a shady new drug that's been circulating the mean streets of Axon City. So far their drug busts have turned up nothing, but after a run-in with a mysterious artefact, Max is transformed into a blonde bombshell, and he's not happy about it. How is this linked to the new synthetic drug, and where did this artefact even come from? Will Max find a way to change back, or will he be stuck as a chick for the rest of his life?
The game is available here - http://store.steampowered.com/app/416360
I'd give this game an award, namely - Biggest disappointment on this site.
Let's get this straight from the outset though, it's NOT the worst on this site. But it's pretty far out there in that department.
First annoyance that hits you - music.
This game is playing it NON-STOP and this is NOT how you use sound in a VN.
A good use of ambient sounds or music in VN would be a hell of a lot more selective than that. Music for special scenes, music for some short scenes, music in the begging of a dialogue, some ambience when you need to empathise the environment. In short you use it in precise dosages to set the mood. This game does a tiny bit of mood setting with music, but only a tiny bit. I'd say somewhere under 1 to 3 percent of the time it was used well. The rest of it it's just background noise that's for some unexplainable and inexcusable reason there.
Sounds were almost completely ignored, but considering the general lack of good use for them with that story I'd say it was done to an excusable degree.
Voice stinks of asset saving. Only ONE character is ever voiced. IT's Max, it's only in the cut-scenes, it's in Japanese for some fucking reason, and YET it gives a distinct impression of being spoken by a NON-native speaker. Granted, Max IS noted down as non-native Japanese speaker but it still stinks of asset saving. Read on to understand why.
Second annoyance that hits you would be the art. Now don't get me wrong, what's there is actually well done. Except...
Guessed it? Yes? No? doesn't matter, I'll tell you anyway. There's not a whole lot of it done and [drumbeat] that stinks of asset saving.
But what's worse than the stench is the reason why it stinks. You know it's normal for a player to turn a blind eye or two for the sake of optimal human resource usage.
NOBODY in their right mind is going to paint 75 versions of Villager B. And nobody in their right mind is going to expect someone else to do that either.
So we're all used to the fact that Villager B will be stuck in one pose for the entirety of his imaginary existence. We all mentally adjust and we all take that one image of him as a GENERAL visual representation of how he looks like and let our own minds imagine what he would look like if he suddenly got hit by a case of stomach ache. That's the NORM.
But this game spits this norm in the face by making numerous not-so-brilliant jokes about the poses it's characters are stuck in. What the effin heck people? Did none of you really realise that it only makes things WORSE?
So yeah, thanks to "brilliance" of the game's writer this game provides it's players with pretty much CONSTANT feeling of "not enough art".
And it's not just the poses either. The game never shies away from re-using characters either. And AGAIN it will not let your imagination tell you "ok so this is NOT the same thug I ran into the other day, they are just placing the same pick here to give me the general idea of a typical thug" NOPE, they are going to bloody TELL you, in text, that it's the same exact thug, same exact stand owner, same exact maid, same exact lifeguard, same exact land lord... basically your whole game the story acknowledges that despite living in a decently sized city you're only running into enough people to barely fill a small village.
Abso-fucking-lutely fantastic work author. You REALLY helped your game with the above clarifications. /sarcasm
Next annoyance that hits you would be the mini games.
Let me tell you upfront - the game is LINEAR. But you'll still have to hit a shit-ton of "options". Wanna guess what the majority of them are about? Yep, "mini-games".
Most of the time spent "playing" this "game" is time spent on low quality detective puzzles. Prepare to talk to an almost-but-not-quite a village worth of people about nothing and hear them going on and on about their lives while hoping to fish those few worth-a-dam pieces of information that form the core of yet another pre-school-kid-level puzzle that you'll need to "crack" to progress.
WOOO boatloads of fun... /sarcasm
Oi, and when it's not puzzles it's trivia. Honestly can't tell you which one is worse. I'd say both were pretty equally unpleasant the puzzles just a tiny-mini bit less so then the trivia. YMMV, but probably not by much.
And then comes the hardest annoyance that hits you, it's the writing.
The game terribly and horribly fails at taking itself seriously. Even in the most remote sense of that word.
Near the end of the game I was seriously wondering - is there going to be a secret reveal that Max has had his brain fired by that electric shock at the start?
The game in general, and Max in particular did NOT start off on the most serous of notes.
But as the game progresses it gets gradually worse and worse. You're seriously starting to wonder if max was getting bimbofied along the way and if there's some other city wide effect of all those drugs that's making the entire almost-but-not-quite a village's population's brains evaporate through their ears.
If you think it could be fun, think again. This is NOT an erotic game. Not really. What you'd be getting is a long story where main character is 2-3 tiers dumber than anyone else around. I'd say he was only 1 tier dumber before he went from a guy to a blond bombshell, and for a short while afterwards, 2 for most of the game and 3 near the end of it.
Oi, and don't go getting your hopes up, it's a long story only in word count. The actual story part of it, if you get rid of all the "fox girls sucks, no maids, sucks, no pandas is where it's at" bullshit that the game is stuffed to the teeth with .. the actual story part is NOT by any account big.
Nor is it impactfull. Nor is it intriguing. Nor is it original. Although I guess to the people who don't frequent this here site it may look somewhat original from just MtF-ed MC alone... But agian, don't get your hopes up, it's NOT focusing on TF content either. It's not even a side-dish here, it's less than that.
Long story short, the story here is mediocre. AT BEST. And yes, that's right ladies and gentlemen and anthropomorphic squids and whatever else frequents this site,.. And yes, I meant what I just said, it's LINEAR VISUAL NOVEL with NO erotic or transformation content worth speaking of and NO story worth speaking of either.
All it HAS is too effin much casual humour and enough mini-games to choke whatever you want to choke.
Casual humour would be of a decent quality if it was put in a lesser quantity and backed up with something else worthy of mention, like, I dunno, good gameplay in a game of different genre, or good erotic content. But in those quantities and without anything else around to wash it down with calling it just barely tolerable would be a compliment.
And then there's the ending... It was unexpected... In almost the worst way possible.. - Instead of any sort of decent conclusion or epilogue you just get ambushed by credits. I.. Just.. don't think I have enough words to properly describe this level of incompetence.
Honestly - the strongest general impression from this game is that the team that made it was treating is as more of an excuse to goof around than as an actual project to treat with care and whatever professionalism one could muster. ESPECIALLY the writer. If there ever was one, then the "not gonna even try to take my job seriously, but still gonna bother doing it for some reason" award would be his. Truly unrivalled showing in this category.
Way to go mate, memory foam discussions and rapidly repeating "the killer has to be the butler" sorry excuses for jokes is what every VN's writing should predominantly consist of. /sarcasm
Now I hope the above amount of ranting was more then enough to get across the fact that I'm NOT cherry-picking flaws here. But if it somehow was not, then here goes - I'M NOT cherry-picking those flaws that I used as examples. The whole bloody game is choke-full of them.
And few last words about the good parts. Ain't a lot of them though.
The art, what's little of it there was, was actually quite decent. Quite good even. If the game didn't shoot itself in the food and was smart about it, then even the quantity of it would be in the decent or at least close to decent amount.
Voice didn't sound too bad either. At least as far as I can tell, I don't speak Japanese myself, only have listener's experience from all that subtitled stuff I watched. However it's total worth in the end was nearly nothing. Might as well have not put ANY in at all and the game would not be any worse for it. But I've explained that part above already.
Cut-scenes would be the rare exception where I have NOTHING bad so say about them. There isn't exactly a ton of them but the ones that are there are both well made and well placed. Considering the scale and budget of the project I'd even dare say professionally so.
If the rest of the game was on that level, it'd be the most NOTABLE project on this site. As is though it's pretty much the opposite - the project least deserving of attention (obviously not counting all the 100500 cases of version 0.02b abandon-ware). And considering scale and cost, also the biggest disappointment.
While the price is a lot, and the "reviews" here did make me uncertain. I am glad I got this game.
The story is well written and engaging, the art is well done and suits the game very well.
There is now a lot of content to the game and updates are regular and add a lot of story, so no worries there.
It is fairly linear, which is a shame. And personally I would like to have more uncertainty and difficulty in Max at the big changes... but that is a personal preference.
The game is now finished and completed, so here are some random thoughts.
It's big, as VN's go this is pretty huge and takes a time to get through, It has actual story with plot and everything. Although the plot can get a bit silly at times.
There are also little animations at key points in the plot.
I would recommend it.
Owned this for a very long time, just got around to playing through the complete version.
Play time is 12-15 hours for first play through. Even with skip I'm not too inclined to go back for other paths on a replay, but probably will at somepoint in future.
All the recent 1.01 reviews below seem pretty accurate.
Keeping review short, I have no regrets on the purchase and it was an impressive effort for what I think is a two man dev team. I enjoyed their first published game also and will likely buy whatever is next.
I was skeptical of the previous reviews, but wanted to try it for myself, and support the community of course.
Lots of silly text, with a silly story.
The transformations are pretty minor, and not really the focus of the game.
The art is good, but never full nudity, sex is implied.
If you love visual novels this game might be for you.
If you prefer more interactive games and/or sexually explicit, a price of 25-30 is a bit much.
There are several references to a similar game that I did enjoy a lot more (Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme).
Is there a lot of content? Yes, but it's mostly a lot of text.
The story is filled with a lot of silliness, which I don't mind that much, but there's actually quite a lot of plotholes as well. (or more accurately parts that are glossed over, making the story feel less immersive)
Where decision-making is concerned, it feels pretty minor.
There are some puzzles but aside from choosing your love interest, there aren't that many paths.
The transformations are also pretty minor, especially when compared to Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme, a similar game made by some of the same producers.
Mostly it just doesn't feel very impactful (best way I can describe it), one moment a man, the next a girl, and it doesn't even take a lot of "getting used to".
The art is very good, very often repetitive, but that is understandable and didn't bother me that much.
Also, kind'of a big thing, no sexual content and never full nudity.
And one of the animations was in japanese (which is then used as a running joke through the rest of the story).
Sometimes the images don't fit, for example at some point one of the girls becomes a catgirl, the story explains how it's pretty much permanent,
then some time after (when hit by a wave in the water parc) the cat ears are gone.
It's most likely that the art is missing (combination of outfit and cat ears), so they fix it by "explaining it" in the text.
The UI is very user-friendly, and overall the game runs smoothly.
I spend about 12h for one playthrough, and as much as the writing bothers me at times, I kind'a do want to try some if not all of the other paths so that's a good sign.
So... I actually paid for the game... And I've played it... a lot. I still haven't finished it, so either I read slowly (sorta) or there's a lot of content.
There is a LOT of content.
I'm not going to gush and say it's best game on the site. It IS GOOD, though. (8.0 / 10)
There is a LOT of dialog. It's a real story. It's not a fapfest!
There's custom art, and for times when the art seems static, the story often gives reasons for it... usually in a humorous way.
It's cute and funny.
There are mini-games and logic puzzles... and ways to change the path-flow. (Not a huge number of paths, but a fair number!)
It's well-rounded and worth buying to play through.
A couple of ciritcisms... the writing could be a bit tighter. Sometimes it wanders (like my trains of thought) but other times it seems padded for content. Tighter writing would help, I think.
My biggest problem... the price-point. If they knocked it down to just below $20 ("$19.95" or such) they'd sell a lot more copies and people would feel like it was worth the money.
TL;DR - It's good. It's very close to being worth the money they're asking. They are continuing to work on it and add to it. There's plenty of content to absorb. It's fun and light-hearted. I do NOT REGRET paying for this game.