The second alpha build for the “gender bender” visual novel Max’s Big Bust has just been sent off to backers at the alpha level and higher. The game also has just hit Steam’s Early Access platform as well, for those that care. Anyway, I took the time to play through the new content and it’s shaping up to be quite an experience. Honestly, I couldn’t stop laughing at the hijinks that continue to ensue between the characters.

Max's Big Bust

In the new alpha for Max’s Big Bust we continue to see more of the story unfold but the main focus this time around is with the first major puzzle that players will have to play through. For a visual novel this adds a depth very rarely seen in the genre and I loved trying to solve the case. The build, assuming you skip the first part, starts off with Captain Nekorai sending Max and Brad off to the mall to investigate a break in and robbery. It’s here where you try to figure out the culprit and bring him, or her, to justice.

Max's Big Bust

The big puzzle is an ingenious use of visual novel tropes. It won’t be that difficult to figure out who did it, but it’s still a nice diversion from the main story. In fact, it only has loose ties to the main plot, used mostly to get a feel for these investigative puzzles and to introduce some new characters to Max’s Big Bust. More on that later. Basically, all you do is interrogate the four suspects that work at the mall, check for clues, and then head on over to your notes and try to piece everything together. There are a couple red herrings but overall it won’t be hard to suss the lies from the truths.

Max's Big Bust

The other new addition to the second build is the inclusion of Max’s phone. It doesn’t add too much to the experience but it does track a few somewhat important things. Especially if you’re trying to get in good with one of your co-workers. There is a sort of relationship meter hidden as an app on the phone, which tells you just how you’re doing towards your path of love. You also have a Tamagotchi-like pet to play with and, of course, you can call others which is important towards the end of the alpha.

Max's Big Bust

Of course, this wouldn’t be a comedic “gender bender” visual novel without more craziness. And, I will say that the laughs just keep coming. Especially when Max and Brad are forced to pay off their exorbitant tab at CoffeeShrine by becoming…snicker…fox girls. Thankfully for Brad this is just temporary (and part time), but he just looks so damn cute as a girl. Plus, we also get to see several of the backer characters in this slice of the game. Including a couple returning from Gender Bender DNA Twister Extreme and, if you choose going to the mall during the second day (if you skip the first alpha build) you might just run into a certain someone.

Max's Big Bust

So, Max’s Big Bust is most certainly far from being finished but what I’ve seen so far shows that this is a game worth playing if you’re into this sort of thing. You can read my thoughts on the first build, if you’re so inclined. There are some minor tweaks and additions to the first part, most notably a few CGs, but if you played it already you can comfortably skip to the new content. I most certainly look forward to when the third build is released and see where Lach takes us.

Serena Nelson
Serena has been a gamer since an early age and was brought up with the classic adventure games by Sierra On-Line, LucasArts, and Infocom. She's been an active member on Kickstarter since early 2012 and has backed a large number of crowdfunded games, mostly adventures. You can also find her writing for Kickstart Ventures and evn.moe.
Serena Nelson

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Serena Nelson
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