Max, an Autistic Journey lets players experience life through the eyes of an imaginative 10-year-old boy who lives with autism. Max is a character inspired by the real-life son of developer Stéphane Cantin. Together, the father and son team have made a game that uses classic RPG gameplay mechanics to illustrate the challenges Max faces and how they can be overcome.
Max has a vivid imagination that transports him to fantastic lands where he takes on beasts that represent his frustrations, fears, and sources of anxiety. Whether he’s dealing with putting his clothes away at home or bullies at school, players take on the monsters and epic bosses that appear using special weapons and magic attacks. Through these imaginary battles, Max can level up and learn new skills to prepare him for the next step of his journey.
The game also features several mini games and puzzles that include a Pac-Man style car game. There are 27 Steam achievements that can be earned by using pictograms to maintain Max’s routine, and completing other typical tasks like collecting fruit and coins.
Publisher GPAC notes the game does not serve a representation of the autistic community as a whole, but rather it is representative of one boy’s journey. As stated in GPAC’s letter to the Steam community, “while we understand there is a wide spectrum of autism, this game focuses on Max, where he falls in that spectrum and how he experiences and deals with daily life. It is not intended to speak for all people diagnosed with an ASD.”
Some of the money earned from Max, an Autistic Journey will be donated to the Miriam Foundation, a Canadian organization that helps support people living with ASDs and intellectual disabilities.