A man, clinging to life. His two sons, desperate to cure their ailing father, are left with but one option. They must set out upon a journey to find and bring back the "Water of Life” as they come to rely on one another to survive. One must be strong where the other is weak, brave where the other is fearful, they must be... Brothers.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a video game developed by Starbreeze Studios. It was released for Xbox Live Arcade, Steam and Playstation Network in August 2013.The entire gameplay is the journey the two brothers take through their world. Enemies are rare. More often, the brothers need to use their wits and work together to progress. The player controls both brothers at once, using only movement controls and a single interaction button for each brother.The game has been critically acclaimed, and has been nominated or won several awards.
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons contains examples of following tropes:
Adult Fear: Some segments' mechanics draw the player's attention to the capable older brother when the more vulnerable younger brother needs alert protecting. This can have various horrifying results that underscore how easy it is for children to be permanently damaged by idle inattentiveness, from watching the can't-swim Younger drown as a blithely forgetful Older paddles away from him to having Older charge down the night's encroaching wolves with his torch only to have another approach from behind his circle of light and drag the trailing Younger off into the woods for a leisurely devouring. The game is often praised for the way gameplay almost literally is the nature of the boys' relationship.
All Trolls Are Different: The first supernatural creature encountered in the game is a friendly troll. He helps you along and you end up rescuing his wife from the other not-so friendly trolls. The other trolls you see appear to be miners with complex machinery, though of those, the ones you interact with directly are Dumb Muscle.
Backup from Otherworld: The implications of the final sequence where the younger brother conquers his fear of water are that he's only able to do it because of the strength from his late mother and brother, as you have to press the older brother's action button to succeed.
Bait the Dog: The girl the brothers rescue from the seemingly dangerous cult people is more athletic in every sense than both brothers combined. Turns out that the girl is actually a spider monster that uses the form of a human to lure victims to her lair.
Beware Of Vicious Dog: The brothers must get past a big dog guarding a farmyard by alternately distracting it and climbing straw bales.
Bittersweet Ending: The father is saved and the younger brother has grown as a person, but the older brother is dead and the father is heartbroken over it.
Blood Is Squicker in Water: During the part with the battlefield of giants, the brothers has to go through streams that are contaminated with the giants' blood. At the end of the sequence, they pass a river that is completely red of blood. They are squicked out when they become red too. It becomes a plot point when they mimic the gnomes' god.
Crapsack World: Beneath the stunning landscapes and few friendly people and beasts lies a world filled with death, destruction, war, blood cults and monsters. Given the nature of the world they live in, one would question the sanity of the healer who has sent two children out on a long journey alone.
The Farmer and the Viper: The brothers work together to save a girl from being sacrificed by a group of cultists, and their act of kindness is repaid by being lured into a cave within a mountain, discovering too late that the girl is actually a half-human/half-spider hybrid who captures the two, and their fight for their lives results in the older brother being mortally wounded.
Right before encountering the cultists, the brothers pass through a cave with cave paintings of giant spiders..
The young woman the boys rescue is able to perform superhuman feats and doesn't seem to care much that her entire home village appears to have frozen to death in the middle of a large siege. This is because the woman is really a spider monster in disguise and actually has a lair out in the frozen wastes. The town was just a short detour for her.
It is also possible to interact with the woman with either brother at several points; while the older brother gradually starts flirting with her, the younger brother's interactions show a growing dislike of her, culminating in a failed attempt to persuade the older brother not to enter the cave like she wants them to. When the woman enters the cave after the boys, she holds her fingers wide apart in a very claw-like manner.
Gameplay Story Segregation: The game is lauded as being a model aversion generally, but specifically toward the end has one of the most emotionally powerful uses the left trigger button has likely ever seen: Throughout the game the younger brother has been shown to be phobic of water and unable to swim, needing to be carried in water by the older brother. With the older brother no longer around in the game's final moments, the younger brother needs to swim for himself—which he does by pressing the action button previously reserved for the now-absent older brother, evoking his place on the controller as the character does his place in his mind. The game doesn't tell the player to do this; Younger just stands crying at the edge of the water until the finger strays to the key that shouldn't do anything.
Hope Spot: The older brother may be stabbed, but it was only a little ways away from the magic healing tree. The younger brother manage to get some healing water for his dying older brother...but he is too late.
Human Sacrifice: The brothers must rescue a girl from what appears to be some kind of sacrificial ritual performed by spear-wielding gnomes. This turns out to be a big mistake as the girl's not human, however.
Invisible Monsters: An invisible monster is one of the many creatures to threaten the brothers on their journey. All that is seen of the creature is its huge human-like footprints, but it seems to be a biped that's bigger than most houses and can apparently smash them with ease.
It Always Rains at Funerals: The rain starts falling after the older brother dies. It stops though by the time his brother actually buries him.
Load-Bearing Boss: The ice around the spider's lair doesn't crack open until it's grisly death.
Made of Iron: The boys can survive jumps and falls that would kill most normal people.
At one point towards the end of the game the older brother has to launch both a young woman and his own younger brother OUT OF A CATAPULT to bypass the gate keeping them out of a frozen town.
Mad Scientist: The inventor the brothers meet at one time is experimenting with a hang-glider that is used by them to travel to the tower. He also has some kind of organ thing that when "played" properly makes him dance.
Snow Means Death: Once the brothers help out the girl from being sacrificed by the blood cult, she guides them to a snowy region, and even a village that had its denizens all frozen somehow. She then guides them to her cave, whereupon she reveals herself as a spider creature and intends to kill them. She succeeds in mortally wounding the Older Brother.
Speaking Simlish: Just to note, the brothers do actually have pronounced names - the older brother's name is pronounced 'Nigh-a', while the younger brother's name is pronounced 'Nigh-e' - possibly 'Nya' and 'Nye' respectively, though they could be any number of spellings.
Surprise Creepy: Oh wow, this sure looks like a fun little puzzle game staring two young brothers going on an epic quest to save their father. The world is so beautiful and sunny! Everything is so bright and cheerful! Oh god, where did these wolves and creepy forest come from?! Wait, is... is that guy trying to hang himself? Are... are these giant corpses? I'm covered in blood! Did this whole village freeze to death? And what is that invisible thing I hear stomping around...?
Wham Shot: Players will notice that something is very wrong when the girl the brothers rescued perform improbable feats, such as jumping over large chasms and tearing a lock from a large wooden gates.
When Trees Attack: Near the end of the river sequence the younger brother is hanging on a branch while the older one moves this branch along the edge of the cliff. Under the ledges some kind of tree monsters lash out at him and try to kill him.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The death of his mother has left the younger brother afraid of deep water. When they must cross a river or a deep pool, he must hang on to the older brother's back while he swims them both across. In a sequence that manages to be awesome, heartwarming, and sad all at once, the younger brother swims across a river on his own after his brother's death. Triggered by his absent brother's action button.
World Tree: When the brothers finally stumble upon the spring of the water of life it is found to be part of a large mystical tree. The second to last level in the game involves the younger brother racing up said tree to collect some of the healing water for his fatally wounded older brother. He doesn't make it in time.