Published on August 7th, 2013 | by Greenie861
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Review
Summary: Starbreeze have managed to re create a simple yet emotional ride that does not break the bank balance
Like Braid and Limbo before it, Starbreeze’s melancholic fairytale occupies that most contested of middle grounds between something that’s clearly artistic while also being very gamey at the same time.
We can already see it being held aloft as one of those titles that proves games sometimes can (and should) be considered as art, but as successful as it is at tugging at your heart strings, there’s some genuinely clever design at work here.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons starts out with death and then never really moves on. There’s some dark imagery at work here, very similar to LIMBO but there’s also a thoughtfulness to the way Starbreeze establishes its characters and fairytale world. Above all else the game is offering deep and emotional content, provoking deep thought and wonderment just like the example game LIMBO.
The games background has been lovingly crafted and it’s testament to the skill of Starbreeze, that a meaningful and worthwhile is not breaking the bank balance. This is a short game that doesn’t waste any time in collecting trinkets or relics. Brothers attempts to do a small number of things, and do them very well. This is a puzzle, plat forming adventure that gives you simultaneous control of the titular brothers as they travel through their weird and wonderful world searching for a cure for their ailing father’s illness.
There are Puzzles galore in the game and require a good amount of the logic and patience, forcing you to use each brother’s own strengths and weaknesses. These quickly become more difficult and much like LIMBO they eventually evolve into a quite brilliant platforming experience.
It can at times feel like your brain is being ripped in two as controlling each brother with the sticks is no easy task. Taking things slow and steady is necessary, but punishment isn’t severe and the checkpointing’s forgiving. In fact, the puzzles themselves, it could be argued at least, aren’t that difficult; the journey itself plays a more important role. Regardless of this though, getting the two Brothers to work together is easy and more importantly, it brings them closer together.
While the act of movement often becomes cumbersome, the world is full of interesting things to see and interact with
Using each one’s strengths and weaknesses, which are kept to a minimum, helps to frame their relationship and give the player a knowing nod whenever you manage to figure something out. You’ll rarely find yourself stuck on a particular problem and maintaining momentum has obviously been important; perhaps that’s why the game is not as long as it maybe should
What I will say about Brothers is its innovative, but very frustrating control system. It’s an interesting setup, in that you have to use the characters in tandem to explore the world and solve some basic puzzles. For example, if you place one brother at the base of a wall and interact with it, he’ll ready himself to help prop his sibling up to an out-of-reach ledge. Developer Starbreeze has taken a huge step and quite a risk by doing this. Simultaneously using only the analogue sticks and the trigger buttons, with the left pair being devoted to the older brother and the right pair to the younger can confuse younger gamers and quite often(myself included) end up with the wrong brother in the wrong place.
hese poor boys are put through a lot in the two to three hour playtime, but as much as it works, Starbreeze should have had more confidence in its ability to deliver a game that works on so many levels.
In fact, if Brothers had been a bit longer, it could have spent more time earning its more shocking moments, delivering them with the full weight and emotion that they deserve.
As it stands, the emotional core at the heart of Brothers is subtle enough and it works cohesively with the puzzle elements that when shocking things do happen, the effect is clear.This is successful because Starbreeze shows you its world and characters rather than explaining what’s going on in the usual methods.
Cutscenes are used in small doses, dialogue is not in English and maybe a three year old will understand it and visually the game is clear in where you need to go and what to do. You don’t need much more than that to tell a story. Starbreeze’s world comes to life and difficult to put the controller down. While the act of movement often becomes cumbersome, the world is full of interesting things to see.
Overall Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is worthy of a purchase and a great start to the Summer of Arcade promotion. A bit short in length is forgotten about with the emotional ride you face while playing.