Originally released in 2013 on PS3, PC and Xbox 360, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons became somewhat of an indie darling before being released for later gen consoles in 2015.
The game follows two brothers (go figure), Naiee and Naia, who are on a mission to save their dying father by locating the Tree of Life and consequently the cure to his illness. With the premise in place, the two set off on a journey across the village and mountains and they encounter challenges to overcome and fellow travellers to help.
The story that unfolds before you is beautiful and throughout we are hit with an incredibly emotive experience. Brothers explores some deep and powerful themes surrounding family, love and loss. Whats more, the game is able to tell a very delicate story without using a single word of English. Instead the characters communicate through their actions and gestures which is very effective. From the opening scene of the younger sibling kneeling in front of his mother’s grave feeling guilt over her death to the final scene before the credits roll, Brothers was made with the purpose to bring the feels.
It isn’t all doom and gloom though as we are introduced to a very fun and dynamic game. Throughout the 4 hour story, the player controls both brothers each with an assigned analogue stick and shoulder button. This method of playing is one of the game’s most outstanding features but also cause for some of its biggest problems.
The ability to control both brothers to solve puzzles and navigate the land feels unlike anything else in games. However, it does run into a few problems when the brothers would cross over to the other side of the screen. It made the gameplay feel disorienting and even if you think you’ve mastered it, you’ll soon forget. Yet, even with this minor quirk, the unique ability to control both siblings is one of the game’s standout features. Even in the instances it becomes cumbersome, it feels worth it when everything does come together.
Visually Brothers is a very good looking game as the art design seems to keep in line with the fairytale vision the developers were going for. It’s apparent that there was a lot of love and care put into the game design and it didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated. Despite its relatively short game time, Brothers takes you on a journey through a number of rich and diverse locations that really added to the overall experience.
Despite its few gameplay shortcomings, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a game unlike many others as it provides players with a gorgeous and charming experience. Even without uttering a single word of English, the player gets a real sense of the brothers’ connection and through the more nuanced moments are able to gain more insight into who the characters are as individuals.
The story is the real winner here and even though there are times it can feel all too familiar, I’d suggest you stick along for the ride to the reach the rewarding and heartbreaking finale.