Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons- Switch Review

Video review and full written review below:

If you’re like me, you’ve probably seen a copy Brother: A Tale of Two Sons at Target or in a bargain bin at any place that sales games. It was originally released in 2013 and available now on all current platforms. The Nintendo Switch is the latest to get a port recently released this past May, I thought it was finally time to give this game try, not knowing much about the game other than it generally got favorable reviews.

This version of the game allows you to partner up with a friend, where each person controls a different brother. Normally, and the way I played it, you can control both brothers with one controller, using the left thumbstick to control the older brother and the right thumbstick to control the younger brother. You can also use the right and left shoulder button to interact with objects or people in the environment for each brother. This version also includes a developers commentary, and concept art gallery which is definitely worth any additional price. However, the developer commentary probably isn’t a new addition since it was recorded a year after the game’s release and the video quality is noticeably worse.

The game is best experienced with fresh eyes, and if the story hasn’t been spoiled for you yet, this is definitely a game I highly recommend to anyone who enjoys story focused narratives. Along with Gone Home, Brothers has to be one of my favorite indie games. Without spoiling the story, you control two brothers who are on an adventure to help their sick father. The game takes on a fairy tale inspiration as you travel to different lands encountering a variety of people and creatures. Vistas allow you to zoom out and see the larger than life environments, and the soundtrack also perfectly sets the tone of your journey.

While there were some technical issues I encountered, such as a couple bugs that had me replaying sections of the chapter. I never quite got the hang of the controllers for the two brothers. The camera and the puzzles generally try to orient the younger brother on the right side of the screen to match up with the thumbstick, but they will get mixed up often causing them to move in opposite directions. Other than shadows popping in and out and sometimes acting strange, these aren’t a big inconvenience and the experience was overwhelmingly positive.

While the game is short, about 3-5 hours, I can see why the game is critically acclaimed and still relevant today even so long from its initial release. The game naturally promotes exploration and interacting with objects in the game while not highlighting every object, encouraging the player to see what can and cannot be interacted with. The more time you take exploring the beautiful environments, the more you get to know the two brothers personalities, even if they don’t speak a language we can understand. While I never was in a situation of having to think about what to do next, I can appreciate the game being easily accessible to gamers of all ages.

Any fans of the developer's interview or director commentary will love the developer commentary by director and writer Josef Fares. Not only does he share achievements and easter eggs throughout the game, but also shares developer insights and background of the game that drastically improved my appreciation for the game Brothers. Anecdotes about the development process, to alternative bosses mechanics, and personal stories showed how much a labor of love this game was to him and the small development team. For anyone interested in game development, storytelling, and game design should use this as an example or case study for a game succeeds where a lot of first time developers fail.

As long as you are approaching this game knowing that the game is about the journey of these two brothers, and shouldn’t be seen as a puzzle game, you will come away after playing feeling you spent more time with the characters than the actual run time of the game. Don’t be like me and almost let this gem of a game pass you by.

I hope you all enjoyed this review. Let me know in the comments below if you’ve played Brothers yet and what your favorite indie game is. Thanks for reading.