Max Gentlemen review: expect unusual antics from the hat stacking game inspired by penis pill spam emails

Free; iOS, Steam, Android; The Men Who Wear Many Hats

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The Independent Tech

The first thing Max Gentlemen asks me when I load the game is: 'Are you of legal drinking age?' I tentatively click the 'Yes (I'm lying)' option to see what happens, and a picture of a gentleman gyrating his hips flashes on the screen. The words 'they are dancing' load. This isn’t a normal game, by any means.

And it’s hardly surprising. The game was inspired by a spam email for penis pills, after all.

The developers The Men Who Wear Many Hats never opened that email espousing the benefits of that tiny little pill. Instead they created the world of Max Gentlemen - a place of extreme Victorian gents, who love to stack hats. And funded it via Kickstarter.

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Back in the game I am presented with a hulk of a man who looks like one of the Village People, except he has 'Cultured 4 Life' tattooed across his chest and 'Gentle' and 'Man' etched into his bulging triceps. I immediately click play.

The game’s main aim is to stack hats as high as possible. You play as a gentleman - sometimes at a bar, moving left and right to grab beers to add hats to your pile. Or in a car zooming down the road as you dodge crows, pigeons and more from toppling your column of fine headgear. The more hats you stack the more you can unlock, with up to 39 included in the game.

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The controls are awkward to begin with: you scroll up with your finger, select a hat, and then release to make it jump. You definitely have to have a fine sense of spatial awareness and hat-finger coordination in order to succeed as you flick between oncoming dangers and the location of new hats. The IAPs in the game are slightly off-putting, (cult-icon Octodad for example is 69p), but luckily they aren’t there to provide you with more in-game currency like a lot of games - instead they unlock more levels, more characters and yes, more hats.

It’s a strange game, and not a particularly deep one, but it is challenging, and the zany nature of the jiggling macho men is enough to at least warrant a play.

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