BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS
Available on Steam
After the death of their mother, two brothers are forced to go in search of a remedy to heal their sick father. Their journey takes them across far lands, icy glaciers and underground caverns where they must work together to survive the dangerous terrain in order to save their father.
Indie adventure-puzzler Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a third-person fantasy platformer from visionary Swedish film director Josef Fares and developers Starbreeze Studios. Taking control of both the Big Brother and Little Brother of the game, you must allow the brothers to collaborate to solve puzzles and to get to those hard-to-reach spots so they may complete their quest to retrieve a healing water and save their father.
Set in a fairy tale inspired landscape, the game will take you on an emotional journey filled with joy, fear and sadness with the most breathtaking graphics I have ever seen in a game. Flowing waterfalls sparkle as you pass whilst the mist drifts across the mountain landscape. The game even features the Aurora Borealis. It’s probably the closest I’ll get to seeing the real thing but gazing upon it in the virtual world, I felt captivated by its digital beauty as if I was gazing upon the real Northern Lights myself. The visuals aren’t the only thing to stir emotions as the haunting soundtrack compliments the visual splendor on screen as our two brothers make their way to their destination.
The clever game mechanics of operating two brothers, the Big Brother with the Xbox 360 controller’s Left Joystick and Left Trigger and the Little Brother with the Right Joystick and Right Trigger, make for an engaging game which can be at first challenging due to its unfamiliarity but is something that you can quickly get used to due to its simplicity. Each of the brothers has their strengths and weaknesses. Big Brother is blessed with strength but is too big to climb through railings which Little Brother is able to fit through. Little Brother, however, is too small to reach high places and therefore needs a peg up from his big brother. The brothers often encounter mechanisms and objects that either need both of them to interact with at the same time, such as using a tree felling saw or moving a wooden cart, or one to interact before the other can access the desired location. The way the two brothers interact creates a marvellous bond for the storyline and the player and you begin to really care about these two brothers who clearly love and rely on one another for strength. Little Brother can often be seen messing about and causing mischief at times when you allow him to interact with other characters on screen whereas Big Brother is the sensible one who does everything he can to protect his little brother. An opening scene of the game features a traumatic experience for Little Brother, something which is later referred to in game when he comes across water which he must swim across. Terrified and unable to swim through fear, Big Brother becomes his support as Little Brother clings to him for dear life.
Though most of the game involves pulleys, winders and swinging from ledges, there’s quite a few instances where the brothers encounter wildlife including gryffins, whales and turtles. The latter sees some baby turtles separated from their mother and the brothers must return them to their distressed mother to complete the achievement, although its not compulsory to the storylne to do so. During the journey, you’ll also get the opportunity to ride some mountain goats to get to a safe path. These interactions with the animals are quite beautiful and are another excuse to love this game even more. However, it’s not all sunshine and lollypops as one particular section sees the brothers navigate between the bloodied corpses of soldiers who’ve turned the streams red. The brothers must make their way past the giant slumped carcasses in order to reach their destination but more trouble lies ahead. Every so often, the brothers encounter dangerin some shape or form though its never too difficult to get past with easy to solve solutions. Whilst the game contains puzzles, it’s more a story than an actual game than tests your playing ability. With a bit of getting used to, even a gaming newbie would find this game easy to control and get the hang of.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is such a touching game that each of the two times I’ve played it, it has reduced me to tears. There’s one particular moment that sets me off but by the end of it, I’m a blubbering wreck! I’ve often heard people laugh off comments that videogames can take you on an emotional journey. If anyone needs proof, I order them to play this game and tell me they don’t feel anything afterwards. If they don’t feel anything, then they have no soul because this game is heartbreaking at times and has enough to emotional drain you whether you’ve played it entirely in one sitting or completed it in several.
Although the game is rather short with 3-4 hours worth of gameplay, the experience is one you’ll never forget. It’s a perfectly created package with just the right amount of puzzles amidst the gripping narrative. I’d be lying if I said I wanted it to end when it did. I didn’t. I wanted to stay in the stunning world that has been created. However, the game told its story and it wrapped up so nicely that I couldn’t be happier even if I’m crying my eyes out. Maybe one day we’ll get another game set in the same world, one that isn’t so emotional but one that takes us through the jaw-dropping landscapes we were blessed to behold in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. In the meantime, pass me that tissue box before I burst in tears again.