From Starbreeze Studios and Scandinavian movie director, Josef Fares, comes, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The story centers around two young brothers, who must journey to a vast and dangerous land to find medicine for their dying father. You control them both, with one controller.
One man, to rule them both
Yes, in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons you control two brothers with one controller. The game does not include co-op, and the only way you can play it with a friend is by sharing one controller, but from experience that always ends bad. You control the big brother (blue in the picture above) with the left stick, and the little brother (orange) with the right stick. You interact with the world as the big brother with the left trigger, and so on. The controller is split in half. But it’s simple, as you only use the sticks and triggers to control the brothers, and sometimes the bumpers to change the camera view, but I found the game to use the camera well, without my interference.
In an of itself the game is very simple. Through the journey you will come across many puzzles, where you need to use both brothers to progress, but the difficulty is not in figuring out how to solve it, but to actually pull it off with the two characters. If you don’t keep the brothers on their separate sides, big brother to the left and little brother to the right, your brain will malfunction and you will send them walking into walls or abysses over and over. More than one time I found myself not knowing left from right, because they switched sides and it does hurt your brain when you try to place them where they need be.
Hidden darkness in the colors
However, it’s not just the gameplay Starebreeze Studios has done something new with here. They are known for their darker titles like The Darkness, Riddick and Payday 2, but here it’s all about colorful areas and harmonic music. They even top it all of with a strange voice design, where they don’t speak per say, but utter strange sounds. But then again, the story and tone of it all is very dark, and later on in the game you will encounter heartbreaking situations. The game is not only about solving puzzles. It’s also about these encounters. The puzzles is a way for you to get involved with the brothers, and make you realize that they need each other to go on in life.
Starbreeze and Fares has done something with the narrative that makes me think about last years Journey, and it’s fitting that both games include two people in need of each other to progress. Is Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons a rip-off of Journey? In no way what so ever. They share similarities, but where as Journey forces the player to trust another player, without communication or identification, Starbreeze’s game is all about your personal connection with these characters, and how well you can control them both.
As I said the game is full of colors and sounds, and it’s all intertwined to be a game filled with contrast from top to bottom, and it makes for a great design. You look at a screenshot from Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, and you recognize it. If you listen to a character speak, and you realize the same. It creats it’s own style, borrowing from others. But that is okay, as it does it well.
For anyone who’s looking for a short, but surprisingly emotional game where your brain will hurt, this is it. It will only take you a couple of hours to complete, and that is if you take your time with achievements/trophies, but it is well worth the price.