The team at Starbreeze Studios took this simple premise and split both brothers' actions between the controller's joysticks and triggers on either side. It's natural to take that concept for granted in the first few hours of the adventure, as lifting one brother to a high ledge – so he can let down a rope – or pushing and pulling levers together to solve puzzles is only so enthralling. During the bulk of the game, you can enjoy Brothers' colorful and varied environments, sitting both boys down at a bench together to relax between encounters with fantastic creatures in unbelievable locales. After some time, the lack of dialog becomes completely unnoticeable, yet every interaction between characters is clear in its intent.
The latter half of the game's moments pull you in close to discover what the controls themselves evoke as a connective device between the two siblings. There are rare instances in which you are forced to consider the same challenges as just one of the two boys, and are immediately confronted with the reality of life without your other half. The resulting feeling is one practically unfelt in a game before, in which one hand on your controller feels helplessly erased after hours of programming your mind to associate one half of the game pad with a character. Trust me when I note that there are even more impactful moments in Brothers
I'm purposely leaving out here, each one a shining example of ways developers can drive home a meaningful, targeted concept through as few methods as purely possible.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
sports a clunky but appropriate title. These two boys are individual sons, but they are bound as brothers, a term reserved for very near and dear people in any one person's life. These are the people you turn to for immediate, unquestionable love and support to overcome the tougher moments in life. Conveying the bonds between siblings and the struggles they work through is nigh impossible to do in any medium, let alone video games, but damn if Starbreeze didn't do the best job of it.
Joystiq is highlighting its 10 favorite games of 2013 throughout the week. Keep reading for more top selections and every writer's personal picks in Best of the Rest roundups. The list so far:
- Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons
- Super Mario 3D World
- Tomb Raider
- Gone Home
- Device 6
- Saints Row 4
- The Stanley Parable
- Fire Emblem: Awakening