Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
Your first reaction when playing this platforming adventure is probably going to be: “Well, this is disorienting.” Your second thought is going to be: “Actually, this is quite clever.” Your final thought is going to be: “Waaaaaaaaah.”
Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons makes you control two characters at once, each assigned a stick on your gamepad, essentially imbuing one of your thumbs with the playfulness of a younger brother, and your other thumb with the bossiness of the older brother. Your dad is unwell, so its up to you to go in search of a faraway plant that can cure him. It’s this way, no, wait... sorry, this way... no, left thumb, you’ve got to… listen, if you just… gah!
Aside from the intermittent puzzles presenting you with a challenge of hand-to-eye co-ordination in the most classic pat-your-head-and-rub-your-belly sort of way, it also weaves a wordless fairytale as you go, full of friendly trolls and savage dogs. Ignore the tropey spiderwomen and relish the good bits. One level sees you traversing a region where giants are having a battle, clambering over their massive corpses on your way. You never see exactly what is happening in that battle – it’s all taking place above the camera’s focus – but the aftermath is an atmospheric and memorable set piece.
I almost didn’t reach the end of Brothers, leaving it unplayed for a few days thanks to one of the less-interesting sections in a cave. But I implore anyone who has not completed it to do so, because it has a very smart ending, even if it is a melancholy one. And in this industry, that is a rarity worth reaching.