Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

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a game by Starbreeze Studios AB
Platforms: XBox 360, Android, XBox One, Nintendo Switch, PC, Playstation 4, Playstation 3
Editor Rating: 7.8/10, based on 3 reviews, 2 reviews are shown
User Rating: 10.0/10 - 2 votes
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See also: Puzzle Games, Quest Games, Nakige Games, Local Multiplayer Games
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons
Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

The methods of storytelling in video games over the years has certainly evolved. From the games that required pure imagination such as Galaga in the arcade, or ones that used text and short scripted scenes such as The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past on the SNES. Nowadays, you are more than likely to come across a cutscene or two while playing a game. Using a cutscene to evoke emotion or move along a story has become quite the norm as of late. Then comes a game called Ico in 2001 for the PlayStation 2. This game was able to move its story alone seamlessly without any cutscenes or dialogue. Fast forward to 2013 and Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons is released – a game that will very much remind you of Ico.

A Story of Courage, Family, and Loss

It’s no surprise that Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was the brainchild of a film maker. That man was Josef Fares – a Swedish award-winning film director. He worked in collaboration with Starbreeze Studios to create both the story, characters, and world they live within.

The story begins with two brothers who have already lost their mother to a tragic accident. Their father has now become deathly ill and is on the verge of dying. The two brothers are then told that if they can successfully make the dangerous journey to a tree that holds the key to the sickness’ cure, their father can be saved. Armed with only a map and the hope that their father can be saved, the two brothers venture out into the world to find this tree.

The world that Starbreeze Studios created is as marvelous to look at as it is to make your way through. Set in a fantasy world full of orcs, trolls, and giant Owls, you’ll come across several impressive environments, interesting characters, and emotional moments. Whether it be the aftermath of a battle, dark caves, dense forests, giant castles, or rushing rivers, there are absolutely no issues with the game lacking visual appeal.

A Rare Breed of a Game

There’s a strong chance you haven’t heard of the “single player co-op” genre of video games before. It’s quite the unique one. What makes Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons a single player co-op experience is the fact that while you are playing it by yourself with a just single controller, there are two separate characters on screen you’ll need to control at the same time. This creates a unique gameplay mechanic as you’ll be twisting your brain up often trying to figure out maneuver the two brothers where you need them to go.

Each brother is tied to one of your controller’s sticks. The older brother is tied to the left stick and the little brother to the right. The left and right triggers are individually assigned to the brothers as well and are used to interact with objects or people you encounter. With this mechanic, you’ll be solving all sorts of puzzles in interesting ways.

Each brother also has traits unique to them to add depth to the gameplay. The big brother can lift or move heavier objects and is has a very polite demeanor with everyone he meets. The little brother is quite opposite. His skills focus around fitting in small spaces or being able to hang with his brother’s support. He’s also quite the mischievous one. This means you’ll be looking at puzzles and interacting with characters through the lens of what each brother is able to do with their skillset. This depth was very much needed since the puzzles aren’t too difficult at all. The real difficulty lay in the act of moving the two brothers.

Short, but Oh So Sweet

During your playthrough of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, you’ll certainly go through all ranges of emotions. From happy, to scared, to excited, to sad. It even may eventually take you to the verge of tears. And what makes this even more impressive is that it’s done without the usual storytelling methods. In place of long cutscenes and scrolling dialogue boxes is just gameplay itself. As you play, the story simply unravels around you through character gestures, gameplay, and sound effects. It’s a game worth experiencing if only to understand how unique of a storytelling method it is.

However, the game is not without its pitfalls. It’s a rather short experience, clocking in about 3-4 hours of total playtime. The story finished great and even had me tearing up a bit, but I couldn’t help but feel like it could have and should have been longer. The game also has no replay-ability as it’s a linear story experience. No collectibles or branching story paths. Once you’ve finished the story, there’s no need to ever go back to play it. That’s a bit sad since I really enjoyed my short time in this world.

8

Despite those slight faults, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a remarkable game that all gamers should play. The unique gameplay mechanics are something you will not see often, if ever. Tied in with lovable characters and a touching story, you’ll be wondering when the next game by Josef Fares and Starbreeze Studios is due out – just like me.

Pros:

  • Beautifully crafted fantasy world
  • Unique single player co-op experience
  • Enduring story

Cons:

  • Short overall length at 3-4 hours
  • No replay-ability
  • Puzzles are a bit too simple in some cases

Download Brothers: A Tale Of Two Sons

XBox 360

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Android

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

XBox One

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Nintendo Switch

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 4

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Playstation 3

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is an incredibly unique adventure game, offering thought-provoking puzzles and an intuitive control scheme. Focused on the story of two brothers living in a fantasy world, this game lets players control both characters at the same time, making a dangerous trek to save their loved ones. Similar in style to games like A Way Out, the cooperative-only prison escape game, almost every puzzle in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons requires you to use both characters in order to progress. While this sounds simple enough, a slew of interesting gameplay mechanics and tough obstacles make this adventure a rewarding and emotional fantasy tale.

Main Game Features

  • Control two characters with one controller
  • Emotional and impacting storytelling
  • Intuitive puzzles to solve

Story

The narrative in Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons starts on a depressing note. Two brothers living in a fantasy world, Naiee and Naia, grief over the loss of their mother. Unfortunately, their troubles are far from over, as their father has fallen deathly ill. After visiting the town's doctor, the brothers learn that the only way to save their father is by visiting the Tree of Life, located deep in the untamed wilds. Intent on reaching the Tree as fast as possible, the brothers set out on an extremely perilous journey that will test their abilities. The entire story is told using minimal dialogue, as every character in the game speaks a non-translated language, leaving the player to infer the meaning. Despite the game's upsetting narrative, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons has an oddly whimsical tone, offering an interesting fusion of drama and fantasy.

Gameplay

The gameplay of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the most remarkable part of the whole experience, mostly due to the unique control scheme. Using a standard controller, one player controls both brothers, using either analog stick to independently move them around levels. The brothers can also interact with various items by using the trigger buttons, which lets them push and pull pieces of the environment, distract enemies, and more. Naia, the older of the two brothers, can manipulate various elements in the world and boost the other brother to out-of-reach places. Naiee, the younger brother, uses his small size to traverse tight ledges, squeeze through narrow spaces, and quickly escape danger.

Many of the puzzles in the game require you to use both characters at the same time, often manipulating pieces of the stage in order to progress. For example, you might have to pull a giant tree log to cover a deadly fall, balancing your way across a treacherous pit. These puzzles can take a few attempts to perfect, which can cause some frustration, but luckily the game has a forgiving checkpoint system. If either Naia or Naiee dies during the adventure, you'll quickly restart the section, losing minimal time. The game is short and sweet, offering some fun applications of the dual-brother controls.

Conclusion

Overall, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a stunningly emotional and at times beautiful adventure that will grasp your imagination and hold it tight. Your adventure to find the Tree of Life is full of interesting characters and moments, including a fight against a giant spider and helping various people around the fantasy land. The music is sweeping and melodic, the visuals are clean and vivid, and the story is appropriately dramatic.

8

While the awkward controls might take a bit of time to get used to, the core gameplay mechanic is intriguing and fun, offering some really cool puzzles that feel great to figure out. If you're looking for a wondrous adventure game that contains a memorable story and inventive puzzles, look no further than Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons.

Pros

  • Very unique gameplay
  • Heartfelt tone
  • Interesting puzzles

Cons

  • Controls can be awkward at times
  • Some frustrating checkpoints
  • Story is slightly confusing

Snapshots and Media

XBox 360 Screenshots

Android Screenshots

XBox One Screenshots

Nintendo Switch Screenshots

PC Screenshots

Playstation 4 Screenshots

Playstation 3 Screenshots

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