knight_ander (knight_ander) wrote,

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

I ended 2013 saying I was going to cutback on gaming, so what is my first post of 2014 about?

Despite it's size and short play-length, "Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons" isn't necessarily a simple game, but it does have a simple premise where in the title characters are sent on a quest to find a magical elixir to heal their critically-ill father.

I don't think that my review will have major spoilers, but I'll put it behind a cut for the minor ones.

[Spoiler (click to open)]
The game is a mix of adventure, puzzle, and platforming styles, and while the visuals are a little cartoon-y, the story-line is definitely in the PG-rating range. The puzzles are fairly simple to solve; the big brother pulls heavy levers, the little brother squeezes through fences, they both push a bar to move a bridge, etc.. The platforming/climbing aspects are fun, with one highlight being a section where the brothers are tethered together, swinging from outcropping to outcropping like the pendulum of a clock. Because the game is so short (only about three to four hours long), it never allows itself to get repetitive, which makes these moments all the more enjoyable.

I think one of the more interesting aspects about this game is how you earn achievements/trophies. In most games, you earn achievement points as you progress through the game: completing a chapter, collect so-many items, etc. But Brothers' achievements seem to focus mainly on side-activities: helping baby turtles, throwing a child's toy down a well (yeah, I'm not proud of earning that one), sounding a giant horn, and even cheering up a guy who just tried to hang himself after a terrible family tragedy!

Brothers has a surprising amount of emotional moments like that. You free an owl/griffin-like creature, reunite a troll couple, rescue the baby-turtles, but also have to make your way through a battlefield littered with giant Spartan-like bodies, pushing embedded arrow-shafts to move body-parts out of your way, and wading through streams of blood. The story emphasizes the little brother's fear of water, which becomes an issue several times throughout the game, and it is used masterfully, especially toward the closing moments of the game.

"Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons" is an enjoyable game that isn't afraid to yank at your heart-strings, and I highly recommend you give it a try. It is available on PC, Xbox360, and the PS3.
Tags: reviews, video games

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