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‘Brothers’, an indie triumph

Aug 23, 2013

By John Powell - G4 Canada

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‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’It takes real creativity to take things we are all familiar with and transform them into something new and different. That’s what developers Starbreeze Studios have done with the magical and innovative ‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’. 

Playing simultaneously as two brothers, you have to solve and overcome very clever puzzles and obstacles in a world much like something out of Grimm's Fairy Tales. There are giant trolls working in steampunk mechanized mines. There are towering, snow-capped mountains to climb, treacherous rivers to navigate and murky forests with ravenous wolves lurking behind every gnarled tree to trek through. Reminiscent of ‘Fable’, the landscape is very surreal and beautiful, like the illustrations you might find in a medieval book of fairy tales.

‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ Don’t let the setting fool you though. ‘Brothers’ is not kiddie fare. Death, loss and even, if however briefly, the subject of suicide comes up when the brothers try to rescue a stranger. 

The brothers are on a desperate quest for the “Water of Life’ in order to save their dying father. The older brother is strong and quite powerful, while the other is smaller, weaker but very agile. The attributes of both come in handy depending upon the situation they find themselves in. To defeat an angry troll in a mine, you must use the small brother to lure the hulking beast into a cage and then slip out through the bars while the older brother operates a crank to close the door of the cage trapping the troll.

‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ The puzzles are not unmanageable but they are some of the most intricate and clever you have ever come upon, especially when you have to employ both brothers to complete them. Each brother is controlled with one of the analog sticks and there are individual action buttons as well. 

Take it from me; it is best to always keep the older brother on the right and younger on the left as per their control sticks.  Moving around both characters at the same time takes a bit of getting used to but the way Starbreeze Studios has taken the gaming controller we know so well and found a new way to use it is genius.

‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ Undeniably one of the best downloadable titles of 2013, the only flaw is ‘Brothers’ is only about three or so hours long. Just when we become immersed in the poignant journey, it ends. At approximately $15.00 on Xbox Live Arcade, Steam or the PlayStation Network, it is hard though to find too much fault with the length of the adventure.

‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ shows what can be accomplished when developers and designers dare to be different and original. After playing ‘Brothers’ you may never look at your controller or platforming gaming the same ever again.

‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’ ‘Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons’
Format: Xbox 360
Publisher: 505 Games
Developer: Starbreeze Studios
ESRB Rating: T for Teen
Official Site:

Rating: 9 / 10

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