Review – Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons (Switch)

All I knew about Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons prior to playing this Switch version was that I would always find a ton of really cheap physical PS4 copies of the game whenever I entered a game store. That and the fact that it was created by none other than Josef “F*** the Oscars” Fares, who also directed last year’s A Way Out. It was one of those games I was always curious about, but never sat down to actually play and find out what the fuss was all about. Now that the game is available on Switch, I finally get why, and I guess I did the right thing to wait up until now, as this is probably the best version of Brothers out there.

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Fantasy land ninjas.

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is the harrowing tale of two kids trying to save their father from a mysterious illness after the death of their mother. They’ll venture through fantastic lands in order to find the cure at the Tree of Life, all while solving a crap ton of puzzles along the way. It’s a game with a cute (albeit dated) art style, a good soundtrack, and no voice acting whatsoever, relying instead of Sims-esque gibberish whenever a character talks. Surprisingly enough, it actually works for the setting.

The puzzle element is where Brothers shines. As you may already know, this is a game that features a “single-player co-op” experience, as you control both brothers at the same time. That sounds more cumbersome than it actually is. The controls are extremely simple and intuitive: you control each brother with one of the two analog sticks, and perform context-sensitive actions with the respective trigger buttons. It’s as simple as it can be. Brothers isn’t supposed to be a difficult game; its puzzles are never that complicated and they never require more than one or two attempts. The main focus here is the story, with the unique gameplay and puzzle solving serving as complementary extras.

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This is no time for tomfoolery, lad!

That doesn’t mean that this version has nothing new to offer in terms of gameplay. For the first time in this game’s history, you can now play it in its entirety with a friend. That’s right, the poster child of playing a co-op game by yourself can now be enjoyed with someone else, and it’s brilliant, thanks to how easy it is to learn how to play this game. The developers have also added a brilliant feature in which you can quickly toggle between solo and co-op play on the pause menu, an ideal solution for a portable system with a sleep mode.

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This picture makes as much sense as the puzzle you have to do in this level.

This was my first time playing Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons and now I understand why everybody and their mother loves this game and its creator. It’s one of the few games from the past years I can truly consider unique and innovative. I really enjoyed its weird but intuitive “single player co-op” campaign, but I have to admit that playing it with a friend was even more entertaining. The game might not have a ton of replayability, but it’s very good while it last, and well worth the purchase.

 

Graphics: 6.0

It does run at a consistently high framerate, but its visuals are noticeably last-gen, with very few graphical enhancements.

Gameplay: 9.0

The gameplay is where Brothers shines: it’s innovative, intuitive, as well as easy to learn (and teach). The puzzles are never overly complicated, but still feel rewarding to solve.

Sound: 7.0

The soundtrack is decent, if not unmemorable, but the gibberish voice acting basically won me over, even though it sounded silly at points.

Fun Factor: 9.0

Brothers is the rare kind of co-op game that’s fun either by yourself or with a friend, all thanks to its intuitive gameplay. It might not have a lot of replay value, but it’s very memorable while it lasts.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is available now on PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC, mobile and Switch.

Reviewed on Switch.

A copy of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was provided by the publisher.

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