The Other Brothers Review
The save the princess trope is one that gaming has seen since the beginning. Undeniably, the Mario series is the master of this story with The Legend of Zelda coming in at a close second. But can one game come along to define that trope on the iOS? Can a save the princess title on the iOS really put a new spin on something that is as tired, outdated, and worn out as the old save the princess plot. Well, The Other Brothers hopes to define that type of platformer for the touchscreen. Let’s see if it saves you from boredom or leaves you for the junkyard dogs.
The Other Brothers is a cheeky homage to another pair of platforming and princess saving bros. Instead of plumbers, we have a pair of car mechanics. But, one is still a bit taller and skinnier than the other. You begin your journey to save a lady from a gang of thugs as Joe, the shorter and stockier of the two. You’re quickly introduced to the all too familiar NES style controls. To move about, you hit a directional button, and to jump you tap one of the two buttons. The other button is used to unleash a hail storm of wrenches whenever you pick up a toolbox powerup. And of course, you kill baddies by jumping on their heads a few times.
The first thing that really strikes you about The Other Brothers is the gorgeous and nostalgic aesthetic that permeates the whole game. The graphics are distinctly 8-bit but are crispier and clearer than anything you’d see on an NES. Even if you’re playing on a lowly iPhone screen, the world of The Other Brothers sucks you in and won’t let you go.
They developers also slipped in nods to great games of the past. At one point, the brothers have to sneak past some cops to jump down into the sewer. They do so by donning a cardboard box. The health mechanic is similar to that of a certain Sega title featuring a fast running rodent. White pigeons are scattered throughout each level that you can collect. But you have to be fast or else they’ll fly away. Whenever you’re hit, you lose all the birds you’ve collected, but have the chance to nab a couple back before they take off. If you get tagged by a baddie without any pigeons in your pants, you lose a life and go back to the last checkpoint. Once you run out of lives, it is back to the beginning of the level for you.
I would be remiss if I didn’t touch on the absolutely spectacular music featured throughout this game. It is a brilliant combination of 8-bit sounds coupled with electric guitars and pop metal vibe. It feels like the creators put as much love and sweat into the soundtrack that they did into the programming. In all seriousness, I would buy the soundtrack on its own. It is so good it doesn’t even need the game to be enjoyed. But you should be glad that the graphics are there, because the story and artwork perfectly compliment the music. It gels into a perfect, reverberating harmony.
The only thing hampering The Other Brothers is the touchscreen. You have a virtual gamepad, which can be moved at will on the left side of your screen. The problem is that if you hit the directional pad the wrong way, instead of moving Joe, you only move the arrow pad. In a title with old-school difficulty and split second timing, this can be a real nuisance. Hopefully an upgrade will be released so that you can easily lock down the control pad so it doesn’t move all around the screen when you’re trying to jump on pitbulls and cops.
The Other Brothers is exactly what you’ve been waiting for in the platformed world. It is cool, classic, and a hell of a lot of fun. Toss in some witty retro charm and you have the makings for an almost perfect experience. Do yourself a favor and go grab The Other Brothers and jump on the heads of some bad guys and save the girl.