Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Review | MOUSE n JOYPAD

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Review


For anyone unaware, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a title that has been out for some time. However, it is now just releasing onto the iOS and Android Platforms. Brothers was developed by Starbreeze Studios and originally released in 2013 across consoles and PC. The game is played in the third-person perspective overlooking two brothers. The player controls both brothers at the same time to travel and interact with objects around the the environment. This title has won several awards since it released, including “Best Xbox Game” at the VGX Award show and “Best Game Innovation Award” at the British Academy Game Awards. Swedish filmmaker Josef Fares stepped in to direct the game and it has sold over 800,000 copies since it’s initial release. Rumors of a sequel are also swirling about, although nothing has been confirmed.


You can be my wingman anytime.

When it comes to the story in Brothers, you are certainly in for a treat. Some dark elements are present here, with the story opening focused on the younger brother, Naiee, trying to save his drowning mother. He is unable to do so and this event is what fuels his fear of water throughout the game, relying on his older brother, Naia, to help him. In the next scene we see the boys’ father falling ill and the brothers both taking him to the village doctor. This doctor then sends the boys out on a quest to find water from The Tree of Life which will cure him. At one point in the game, the boys are even working together to convince a man not to end his life. There is no understandable dialogue or subtitles throughout the entire game. It’s all in a language beyond our understanding, leaving one to figure out and interpret the story with how they see it play out through the gestures and expressions of the characters involved. Aside from the main story which plays out, there are a multitude of side stories in which you can embark on… or not, it’s entirely up to you. I encourage everyone to give several side stories a shot given the emotional depth these provide to the game. That’s one thing about a game that really gets me going, a story that can tap into your emotions and alter your feelings playing through the game. Brothers does this.

The gameplay here is imaginative, but also frustrating. It’s a very interesting and challenging mechanic controlling both brothers at the same time. The older brother, who is bigger and stronger is controlled with the left pad (blue) and the younger more agile brother is controlled with the right pad (yellow). In order to interact with the environment or character in the game, you’ll be required to hold your finger down on one or both pads depending on whether you’re using one or both brothers. While I do enjoy this mechanic, it can be incredibly frustrating, especially for the iOS touch screen. With the console version you have thumbsticks that are easily located through muscle memory. In this iOS version you have virtual thumbsticks. This isn’t so bad considering you are looking at the screen; however, they are not in one fixed location. If you touch slightly outside of the thumbstick area, the entire thumbstick area will shift over. This is done to give the player options in adjusting the area of the thumbsticks to the desired location for gameplay, but I often found myself teetering on the brink of madness by constantly mistakenly moving the thumbstick to a new area and trying to adjust or move them back.


Some of the locals aren’t so bad.

An additional gripe here is trying to play this on a mobile device. Now granted I played this iOS version on my iPad which offered plenty of area for my thumbs on the controls while still being able to see the game fairly well. I could not imagine playing this on an apple phone smaller than the iPhone 6. My personal phone is a Galaxy Note 3 and I still dislike playing mobile games even with the size of my screen. I think the size of the screen on top of having to use both thumbs for the controls would really ruin the experience of such a magnificent story.

During my play through I experienced one crash and some occasional lag loading from one scene or area to another, but the graphics here are top notch for a mobile game. For example, at several points in the game you’ll find benches and the game looks so incredible that just sitting on the bench scanning the environment and listening to the soundtrack playout was an enjoyable experience. You won’t find incredibly fine detail here in the characters but as the game plays out with the camera set far back for the third person view, the environments are rich and voluptuous.

You’ll also find yourself coming across several puzzles throughout the game. They’ll start off simple but slowly become a bit more complex. One of the simpler ones in the beginning requires the older brother to use his strength to boost the younger brother up to a platform. Once the younger brother is there he’ll drop down a rope for the bigger brother to climb up. More complex puzzles will require the brothers to separate. In one case the brothers were connected by a rope while climbing and they had to take turns swinging from each other to grab various hand grips as they moved across the screen. This caused a small rupture in my brain trying to continually remember which control stick was in charge of who because at times they were switching to the opposite side of the screen from their corresponding controller.

The play through on Brothers will take around four hours or so and it’ll be worth every minute. The controls are frustrating and even more so now that they are digital touch pads. A small screen and lack of patience could potentially ruin this title for you. If you appreciate a moving story and stellar soundtrack then this title on iOS will be worth the frustrating controls. It’s simply an adventure you just don’t want to miss out on.

This review was based on a code that was supplied to Mouse n Joypad by the Developer, Publisher or their PR Company.