Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Two Brothers

Review: Two Brothers

2:00 PM on 01.17.2014 // Jordan Devore

A world of pure imagination

In Two Brothers, game over isn't the end. Not even close.

Designed to look and play like a Game Boy title, this is an adventure in the vein of classics like Link's Awakening but with a truly bizarre world to call its own. It tells the story of scientist Roy Guarder, who dies alongside his wife in the opening moments only to be brought into what he believes is the afterlife. It's here that he sees wondrous new colors, the likes of which are indescribable to a scientific community he so desperately wants to convince.

Roy is mysteriously able to return from the heavens to his monochromatic world. The only problem is that no one -- well, almost no one -- will believe him. Not without proof. With the help of his brother, Roy sets out to find answers, collect evidence of color, and possibly bring back his beloved wife in a journey that will take him to faraway lands and beyond.

Two Brothers (PC)
Developer: Ackk Studios
Publisher: Ackk Studios
Released: December 3, 2013
MSRP: $14.99

It takes a while to get used to the unique world of Two Brothers and I say that as a huge compliment. At first, it's the "buildings" that stand out -- they are, more often than not, animals. Giant, living creatures with doors you can enter, rooms you can explore. It's trippy. And then there are the fourth-wall-breaking moments. The intentional "glitches." The references to game tropes that are incorporated into the story in such a way that they don't feel like halfhearted shout-outs built on nostalgia and nothing more. Long-time gamers will get a kick out of these sequences.

Combat in Two Brothers, regrettably, isn't quite so memorable. You're able to perform a primary attack and a ranged secondary move (and a third charge move, though it's unnecessary), which isn't inherently problematic. Simple can be good. But not when there's no real incentive to change weapons, significant ability-granting items or equipment are practically nonexistent, and enemy hit detection is noticeably off. Thankfully, this is not a punishing game -- death will send you to the afterlife, but you're almost immediately able to return where you left off with full health.

While the average enemy will sometimes just stand there and allow you to hack away at it -- or simply allow you to run past with minimal effort on your part -- bosses are an improvement. They're varied in look and feel and while the trick to beating them usually isn't too interesting, especially not compared to this genre's best battles, there are a few notable exceptions.

It wouldn't be an action-adventure title without puzzle-filled dungeons and Two Brothers is no outlier. While I quite liked the design of the game's dungeons, the same cannot be said for its puzzles. They never get much more complex than hitting switches in a specific order or shooting an arrow at a certain type of object to swap positions with it. Not exactly head-scratchers. It's figuring out who in town to speak with and where to go that most require problem-solving skills.

These are all real issues, don't get me wrong -- and they do begin to add up -- but they're largely worth putting up with in order to dig deeper into the narrative. The soundtrack is also deserving of praise; at times, it's exceptional. There's a substantial amount of music in Two brothers as this is a fairly substantial game, and while it's of course not all going to be great, it does a tremendous job of bringing such a low-fi aesthetic to life.

For all the good it does, there are a number of bugs which do their absolute best to bring down Two Brothers. The most troubling one I encountered was undoubtedly an issue that, partway through my adventure, resulted in some -- but not all -- chests to lock up my character, requiring a restart. After a point, I just stopped opening chests, not willing to gamble for extra money or health, neither of which are particularly important in this game.

From the sound of it, some players have it much worse, though I do feel obligated to mention that Two Brothers autosaves when you enter a room, so lost progress isn't as much of a concern as you might expect. These technical problems and a few too many grammatical errors for me to let slide are representative of a general lack of polish, however.

Two Brothers is ambitious to a fault and I can't help but wonder what a little streamlining could have done to improve its flow and reduce bloat. Having a grand, open world to explore is great if players generally know where to go. But we aren't mind readers. In more than one instance, I found myself walking from one end of the map to the other, stopping to travel through the same repetitious roadblocks with only the vaguest of ideas about where I was supposed to head next.

Then there's the final dungeon, a series of rooms pieced together with little regard for logic or intuition and a painful objective: find seven beings. That sure did kill any and all momentum I had going for me. The first six were annoying to seek out, but that seventh? I don't even want to say how long it took me. The solution ended up being something I had overlooked because of the way the game's camera works and could have been easily avoided.

By that point, I was too exhausted from playing and replaying the same slice of gameplay to even be upset. It's a shame, because I should have been enjoying myself: this specific dungeon embraces a beautiful full-color, 16-bit look for story-related reasons, something I wish Two Brothers would have been willing to utilize more frequently. The Game Boy aesthetic gets old.

Despite these frustrations, I stuck with the game. I kept at it, compelled to see where and how my journey would conclude. Two Brothers is tough to recommend, but not impossible.

It's very much the type of game you play for the story, which has flashes of brilliance that can only be effectively realized in an interactive medium such as this. Unfortunately, it's tied to lackluster mechanics, technical problems, and a disappointing lack of polish. Two Brothers may not be an overall success, but its best moments are worth experiencing first-hand.



Two Brothers - Reviewed by Jordan Devore
Disappointing - I feel sorry for this one. It came close to being passable, but dropped the ball too many times to prevent itself from being an embarrassment.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jordan Devore, Managing Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure DtoidJordan Tips
Jordan is a founding member of Destructoid and poster of seemingly random pictures. They are anything but random. Disclosure: I backed Double Fine Adventure and Awesomenauts: Starstorm on Kickst... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Two Brothers

View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:

Please contact Crave Online, thanks!

Persona Still Reigns Perfection

Cblogs of 11/30/2015 + Saudi Arabian Ban Hammer

Eleven indie games that will CHANGE YOUR LIFE in 2016

Should 'Mercy Spoilers' be a thing?

Thankful It's Over: Assassin's Creed 2

Virtua Memories: Virtua Fighter/Remix (Virtua Fighter Month)

FNF: Christmas toime is hear

Tales of Zestiria Review (PC)

Xenoblade X Squad?

 Add your impressions

Status updates from C-bloggers

FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
What youtubers y'all watch? I need more.
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
Playing For Glory earlier today, some guy beat me and changed his name to "ifukdu_up". I won next round and he changed it to "ILETUWIN". I then 2-0ed the little sucker, and he left the lobby. I took great pride from this incident.
Dalek Sex avatarDalek Sex
Henshin into a person with a larger disposable income.
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
Why the hell are we suddenly accepting micro transactions in fully priced games? It used to be only acceptable in free-to-play games but its sickening that even AAA developers like microsoft are on the bandwagon.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
If you're ever writing about something from the heart, and you stop and think "I don't know how people will react to me if I write this" then you absolutely should go ahead. Passionate conviction is often the only voice you'll have.
VeryImportantQuestion avatarVeryImportantQuestion
Wait a second...has the blog editor been changed with the idea being that the formatting be done in Word or something and then pasted in? Have I been using it wrong these last few posts?
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
guys I'm standing in a Target looking at a Xenoblade X special edition what do I do
Zer0t0nin avatarZer0t0nin
Dear Dortmund Zoo: how's it possible for people to steal 3 monkeys, 3 squirrels and 2 penguins while killing a manatee and another penguin since April and you still have no clue how to stop this?
WryGuy avatarWryGuy
We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! We got Xbone! [img][/img]
Flegma avatarFlegma
Two more reasons not to preorder: the game might appear in stores before release day (Hello, Xenoblade Chronicles X for 60EUR at my local mall) or the mail workers may be on strike (well, they were until Monday).
Rad Party God avatarRad Party God
ModDb's MOTY (Mod of the Year) votes are up, there's quite a TON of interesting mods this year, give it a look and vote for your favorite! ---
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Hey, US Pokemon fans! Apparently if you just rename your SSID to Mcdonalds Free Wifi, you don't even need to go anywhere to get your Hoopas. Seems like they could've just made this one a normal download.
Archelon avatarArchelon
It may have been a war of attrition, but I just took out a Snowspeeder on foot in Battlefront. Aww, yeah.
Gamemaniac3434 avatarGamemaniac3434
Last night, for one reason or another I watched the endings of bloodborne via vaatividya, and in so doing made myself sad that I will never get to play it. Still cool that they seem to have really nailed that lovecraftian exestential horror and despair.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
[img][/img] やらないか?
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
If I were a rhino, I'd be horny.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
I don't want DOAX, but it does make me realize... There aren't actually a lot of volleyball games out there, are there? Or tennis, even? At least golf has a little competition, but still. That's golf.
LinkSlayer64 avatarLinkSlayer64
Well, everyone is throwing in their opinion on women and games, and here I am... writing a blog about being aroused by female characters in games as a kid... Perhaps I should hold off, I have a feeling it may just be taken the wrong way.
Agent9 avatarAgent9
Thinking about getting my sister yokai watch or animal crossing Happy Home designer(comes with nfc reader). I already got a copy of Tales of xillia for her ps3, this is just a bonus for when she's on the road or at someones house. any suggestions?
Dalek Sex avatarDalek Sex
Dark Souls 2. Dem builds.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -