Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is based on a fairy tale. Soon after their mother dies their father becomes deathly ill. The two brothers, Naiee and Nyaa, take it upon themselves to find medicine to cure him. Their adventure is riddled with moment to moment set pieces ranging from traversing the countryside with trolls, delving deep into a guarded mine, evading wolves at night, and more. It’s fantastical as much as it is touching. Be warned for more than one heartache awaits these two on their journey.
The gameplay is a mixed bag. On one hand controlling the two brothers separately, using a trigger and analog stick each, is a great idea, but the execution isn’t perfect. It’s like trying to pat one’s head and rubbing one’s tummy at the same time. The controls themselves can be a puzzle even greater than those found in the environment, but perhaps that’s on purpose. That said, every obstacle whether it be climbing new heights, avoiding monsters, or unlocking gates is a treat. Nothing is ever too hard, or easy which may be a disappointment for fans of brain stumpers like Portal. This is a game more focused on emotion and experiences rather than strict problem solving.
Okay, controls aside, this game looks amazing. The aesthetic looks like a bunch of clay models highlighted by thin layers of brightly colored paint. It’s a visual style that’s gorgeous. This is strengthened by it’s versatile set of locations, each greater and more robust than the last. The music is superb and is used to accentuate those rich moments in the story. It’s not terribly long and it’s fairly linear, but that four-hour journey is more memorable than a lot of the longer games from 2013. As a side note, the textures took awhile to render occasionally.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, just like Journey before it, is an experience that needs to be played. It’s heartfelt and beautiful. The controls take some time getting used to and again there were texture issues on the downside. Do not miss it.
Score: 4/5 Stars
Special Notes: This article was originally published on January 29, 2014 via my Examiner account before the website shut down.