A picture of me clearly deep into the game and not posing for this photo...
I’m going to kick off my very first game review by talking about Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. Developed by Starbreeze studios, Brothers is a single player action-adventure 3d platformer. Set in a Nordic inspired world, the game revolves around the two Brothers journeying to a distant land in hopes of finding a cure for their father’s life-threatening illness. What’s interesting to note is that this is communicated to you with very little dialogue, and what few words are spoken, are voiced in a gibberish language. This is executed remarkably well in that it really allows the player to “fill in the blanks” and really project how they think the character is feeling into the game.
To navigate, each Brother is controlled simultaneously and independently using each of the two analog sticks on the player’s controller. It’s a questionable scheme that involves a lot of criss-crossing, running into walls and general confusion – a sort of similar sensation to trying to pat your head and rub your tummy at the same time. It could describe it as a “single player co-op game”. The Brothers each have their own unique interactions with the world around them that really show off their individual personalities and thus further emotionally attaching the player to these characters.
The gameplay incorporates simple puzzles and linear exploration that would only take a short glance to realise what you need to do or where you need to go - A lot of lever pulling and ledge shuffling. The difficulty comes from the players own ability to control the characters as they heavily rely on each other throughout the game. For example, you learn very quickly that the younger of the brothers is unable to swim but can squeeze between tight bars.
Nevertheless, the gameplay just serves as a complimentary feature to the story itself. Though the puzzles are sometimes mind-numbingly simple, it’s the emotional response they elicit that keeps the player going. It’s a dysphoric tale that is told with heart, grace and a great attention to detail. The Brothers travels take you through caves, castles, dark forests, arctic rivers and a surprising change of tone for the dark.
|Pictures from store.steampowered.com|
It delivers a disappointingly short 3-4 hour experience so I highly recommend playing it all in one go and offers no replay value. I’m not sure it’s worth the £11.99 price tag on the Steam Store so it’s worth waiting until the next sale like I did. Also, the tear inducing ending bugged out for me, some textures failed to load, which caused me more annoyance than the intended emotion. However, it offers a beautiful tale with bewitching environments and a unique control scheme to keep the player on their toes. I’m not too sure on how to end a review like this, so he’s the pros and cons:
Pros: Endearing characters, emotional storyline, bewitching scenery, unique gameplay, goats
Cons: Disappointingly short, relatively simple puzzles, high price, no replay value