Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

So over the course of yesterday and today, I finished Starbreeze Studio’s game, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. It’s an incredibly short piece, maybe 7 or 8 hours in all, but the aesthetics are gorgeous and the music is beautifully atmospheric. I felt really good about this game. It was more story oriented than anything else, and while the controls were simple (the two joysticks + L2/R2,) they required a lot of coordination. The point of the game is to control both brothers at the same time. There are some things that Naiee, the younger brother, can do,  and some things that only Naia, the older brother, can accomplish. For example, Naiee is terrified of water and has to hang onto Naia’s back in order to get across numerous lakes that appear in the game. Meanwhile, Naia can’t get up onto high ledges, but he can boost Naiee up.

The story follows Naiee and Naia trying to find their way to the Water of Life, so that they can save their dying father. Their father is the only family that they have left; their mother died in a boating accident years earlier (which is the source of Naiee’s fear of water.) You travel through a lot of exquisite landscapes with unique climates and creatures. For example, there’s a winter world with a massive, invisible monster and orca-like creatures swimming through the water, and there’s a summery world where you encounter giants and goblins.

In regards to the ending: although I was pretty upset, I felt like I hadn’t gotten close enough to the character to really– well, okay, I’m sure that I’m being obvious enough for “what happened” to be obvious. Basically, Naia dies. And I was really, really sad, but also… I felt like I hadn’t gotten close enough to him to be too broken-hearted. I mean, it was a short game, so that’s understandable.

The gameplay was super easy and it required more thinking than brute button-mashing. The challenges were not that challenging. After all, you can’t really do much since you only use, again, a total of two buttons in the game. I have to say, though, they were incredibly creative for only having two buttons to use. There are quite a few cutscenes in the game and actually, some of them would have been really fun to play.

I think I’d give this game a 8/10. It’s really good. I’d recommend it for people who like a story but not a challenge, or anyone who’s looking for a quick game to run through. Actually, running through might not be the best idea. The environments are beautiful and it’s fun to explore and admire the landscapes. Before I forget, there’s just one more thing to add– I wish that we could have gotten a better look at the lore behind the different places. Some of them were very intriguing, like the goblins. Who were they worshipping, with that two-person blood statue thing? And also, what happened in the winter world? Why were there so many frozen people? What was that turtle thing that had the ice-shell on its back? Who was the spider-lady and what was she all about? (Although, it was very cool that they insinuated earlier in the game that she wasn’t exactly what she appeared to be, with her superhuman jumping and strength abilities.) Yeah. I’d love to read a book or play another game that belonged in this world.

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