Release: August 7, 2013
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
Platform: Xbox Live Arcade, Steam, Playstation Network
Interactive entertainment has come a very long way. Video games aren’t just dots and beeps on a screen but fully interactive stories that hold you from start to finish. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an emotional tale that serves as a fine testimony.
This a dual joystick adventure game. If that sounds foreign that’s because it is. During your playthrough of Brothers you will control two characters at the same time. The older brother is assigned to the left joystick and trigger and the younger brother the right joystick and trigger. The joysticks control movement while the triggers control actions. Actions can range from interacting with the denizens of the world, climbing, or hiding behind objects to remain safe from some of the more hostile enemies.
There is also puzzle solving that will require coordination between the two joysticks and triggers. The control scheme works very well although I found it challenging at times to keep both brothers walking down the same path in unison. But that is hardly a fault of the game’s design.
In Brothers you will help two young lads on a quest to save their father who has unfortunately fallen very ill. The brothers learn of a cure from a village elder and immediately venture into the unknown. No words are spoken during the entire game, not even subtitles. The inhabitants of this world have their own “language” similar to the Sims or ICO. You may wonder how the narrative comes together but it works very well. Facial expressions, body language and, tone of voice assist the player in figuring out how conversations may be playing out.
Each brother also has a distinct personality that helps flesh their characters out. Therefore, the brother’s respective triggers will allow the player to witness actions specific to that individual. While the older brother may walk up to an individual and pull out a map asking for directions, the carefree younger brother may decide to play Rock Paper Scissors with the same individual. These little touches build a connection between the player and the brothers. As you watch them interact with the environment, and each other, you grow closer and more invested in their thrilling journey.
This may be a $15 downloadable game but make no mistake, this is a gorgeous looking game with visuals rivaling some big budget titles. The world feels and looks as if it were pulled from a fairy tale book. Settings range from an excavation cave, a creepy forest, to a small town blanketed with snow. Each environment is bursting with beautiful colors and detail. But more entrancing is the tale itself. Two young brothers traversing various towns and landscapes full of danger and discovery. You may not hear actual words but you will feel and sense the emotion and love between the characters.
Brothers is simply a treat to play albeit short. You can easily finish this game in one sitting. That may be a preferable way to experience this title though. I will also make mention that during my playthrough, I encountered a glitch that forced me to restart the chapter. This incident, however, hardly took away from the overall experience.
Without using any words Brothers managed to make me laugh, cringe, and come very close to shedding tears. It is worth every bit of your precious time as you take these two courageous brothers on an adventure filled with laughter, peril, and hope.