Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons

Common Sense Media says

Emotional puzzler has great role models, some dark moments.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game is about love, loss, bravery, and the strength that comes with fraternal bonds. It suggests that life is less lonely and tasks much easier when you share a partnership.

Positive role models

The two brothers are terrific role models. They clearly love each other, help each other, and openly express their feelings through pats and hugs. They get into only one fight in the whole game, and they don't instigate it. The rest of the time, the two use their heads and cooperate to solve problems.

Ease of play

Players need use only two buttons to control each brother throughout the game. You'll be controlling both at the same time –- one with each thumb –- and it may test your ambidexterity, but most players shouldn't have too much of a problem getting used to this unique, dual-hero mechanic. 

Violence

Aside from a minor battle that has players pulling legs off a big spider, there is no violence. However, death plays a major role in the story. Plus, players will see the bloody aftermath of a battle between giants as they make the game's heroes push their way past huge carcasses and wade through streams of blood-filled water, coating them in crimson.

Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The brothers encounter a man on a bench who appears to be drunk. He offers the younger sibling a drink from a bottle. The sibling sips it and expresses disgust.

Privacy & safety

No privacy or safety concerns.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a downloadable game available through Xbox Live, the PlayStation Network, and Steam for PCs. It's a puzzle and platforming game with almost no violence, though in one dark scene players will traverse a bloody battlefield filled with the bodies of dead giants. Plus, the notion of death plays a significant role in the game's sobering fantasy story. One of the things that makes this game special is that these two brothers make great role models. They only get into one fight with an enemy and spend the rest of the game figuring out puzzles and trying to help people. They love, cooperate with, and help one another throughout. 

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • moving beyond obstacles

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

If the dramatic opening scene doesn't intrigue players, the unique two-hero mechanic probably will. This is the sort of game that grabs players by dint of its sheer unusualness.

Learning Approach

The puzzles are baked in to the action, allowing players to use their experience to figure out how to overcome obstacles. Players also will learn about good brotherly behavior via examples set by the characters.

Support

Basic instructions are provided within the game. There's no official community for support, but fans and third-party websites have created their own walkthroughs.

What kids can learn

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • logic
  • solving puzzles

Emotional Development

  • empathy
  • moving beyond obstacles

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • teamwork

Kids can learn about puzzle solving, cooperation, teamwork, and brotherly love in this unusual and touching puzzle and platforming game. The cleverly designed conundrums typically require both brothers -- controlled simultaneously by the player -- to work together performing different tasks at the same time. As they work together, the siblings show affection for one another, making them fine fraternal role models. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons imparts some good lessons about teamwork, solving puzzles, and brotherly love.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

Parents say

Kids say

What's it about?

BROTHERS: A TALE OF TWO SONS is the fantastical story of older and younger siblings on a quest to retrieve medicine from a magic tree with the power to save their father. The two brothers, who experience a terrible tragedy in the game's opening scenes that leaves one deathly afraid of water, aren't warriors or sorcerers. They don't go around getting into fights. They're just kids who use teamwork and wits to solve problems -- moving obstacles, operating machinery, climbing up ledges -- and help people. It sounds much like any other game with navigational puzzles, but the twist comes in that you're always controlling both at the same time. The left thumbstick moves the older brother, the right moves the younger, and the corresponding triggers are used to interact with objects. The brothers are consequently quite dependent on one other. Many tasks can only be achieved by making both perform actions at the same time. Working alone, their abilities are greatly diminished.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

The brilliance of Brothers is that it uses its play mechanics to establish a connection between the player and the characters. More than that, it makes players feel, to a degree, what the characters feel. This is seen most clearly in a scene in which you have control over only one of the brothers. By this point in the game you've spent so much time with the two in tandem that the lack of one brother feels wrong. Everything is more difficult. Tasks are less fun. You become lonely. These are the exact emotions being experienced by the sole sibling. It's a heartfelt -- and heartbreaking -- moment of interactive storytelling.

The rest of the game is equal to this experience. Getting used to controlling two characters at once can be a bit tricky but is never too tough. And the world, marked by beautiful skies and colorful lands filled with fantastical creatures, is a visual treat. The adventure lasts a brief three hours, but they're three hours you won't soon forget.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what it is to be a sibling. How do you and your sibling(s) get along? When have they helped you or you helped them? Can you imagine life without them? If you don't have a brother or sister, what do you think it would be like?

  • Families also can discuss the concept of loss. Has anyone close to you ever died? What did you do to deal with your loss? What sort of advice would you give to someone else going through the same situation?

  • What is the impact of violence in the media? This game has a very bloody scene. Was it necessary?

Game details

Platforms:Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Price:$14.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:505 Games
Release date:August 7, 2013
Genre:Puzzle
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Great boy role models
ESRB rating:T for Violence, Blood, Crude Humor (PlayStation 3, Xbox 360)

This review of Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Teen, 14 years old Written byIronRunningAnvil August 30, 2013
AGE
14
QUALITY
 

Sad game with dark twists creating some average gameplay

Ok so to start this game is not for young kids. It can get pretty gory at some points and also pretty scary and dark, not trying to give anything away. The game sets the silent story of two brothers on a journey trying to save their dying father. This already sets a dark tone to the game. When you start everything is bright and cheerful until as you progress through the game things become darker and ultimately freakier. You end up seeing many dead bodies although you do save some people. The two brothers never actually kill anyone or fight anyone apart from one boss that looks like a spider near the end. The game itself is rather short as it only provides around 4 hours of gameplay. There are some more gory scenes in the game as you discover a giants battlefield where there are many giants bodies everywhere. If you rush through this level though you will find the rest of the game is more mellow. Overall then violence 3/10, scariness 6/10, sadness 7/10, goriness 5/10, replay ability 5/10, length 4/10, mature content 5/10, rudeness 0/10. I would not recommend this game to anyone under the age of 14 as it would be to intense for them but apart from that it is a reasonably enjoyable game with many thrilling puzzles and in depth story line gameplay. This game is an odd and disorientating (you'll see what I mean if you get it) game that leaves with a sad feeling at the end and a need to know more. Hope this review helped
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent Written byAki-Matti January 20, 2014
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Join the brothers on a worthy cause

This seems like a game that encompasses much of what childhood adventures outside with friends are about. Exhilaration, excitement and friendship. The two brothers in this game offer great role models in how they support each other through many exciting scenarios that don't really involve violence but overcoming obstacles in the environment. Also, this game handles feelings very well. Even in the beginning when it is shown why the little brother is afraid of water it creates a strong connection with the characters and their behavior. All along the way, you will feel emotions of support, sorrow and excitement just to name a few as you walk this adventure with the brothers. A word of warning, though. You should play this with your child instead of letting him play it by himself, otherwise he/she might not be able to handle all the situations and feelings the game will raise. There is especially a scene where a lot of blood and bodies can be seen and while the game was otherwise alright to play while my kids (7 and 5 years old) were watching, this was a scene I didn't let them watch from the side.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Parent Written bystefanlindskog September 29, 2013
AGE
12
QUALITY
 

Uniquely compelling

Not many games manage to tell a story as convincing as Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons. The main characters set out on a fantastic journey to save their father, who has fallen ill. During the short three to four hours it takes to play through the player bonds with the brothers and their dire situation, while experiencing breathtaking vistas, heartwarming scenes, and some really dark material at points. I played through the game myself before deciding to sit through it while my seven year old son did. I helped him undertand the dark parts and was pleased to see that he understood and accepted - and even appreciated the deeper meaning of the game. He went through feelings like pride, joy, sadness, wonder and quite some thrill. At the end he cried because of the dark beauty of the ending - and we talked in length about why not all stories can end as well as we would have liked. It's been two days now since he played it, and he says it's his all time favorite game. To me that's worth gold. Brothers contain almost no violence and absolutely no glorification of violence. The brothers go through their ordeal by solving puzzles and move over, through or around obstacles in ther way. There are some horrific scenes that will put many parents off involving a man trying to hang himself because he's lost his family in a fire, and later a field of dead giants bleeding up a river. But in my opinion it's justified by the way it's presented. It's honest and without pretention. It's like old fairytales. It has its obligatory darkness, making the story more involving. I'll gladly accept that I might be in the wrong for letting my son play it at his age. My justification is that the beauty of the overall story, and the way that the story is told as a non-violent videogame, makes it acceptable. If your child is emotionally mature, and you're willing to take the journey with him/her - do it. If your child is twelve or older - let them experience the game on their own. The end is so strong and emotionally engaging that they'll try to tell you about it for hours, while feeling the value of family ties for much much longer.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence

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