Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons is a small game. The puzzles are light, and it takes not even 5 hours to get all the way through, but what catches your eye is the gimmick: you control two brothers, one with each hand. Your left hand controls Big Brother and your right hand controls Little Brother. A unique one-player experience, learning how to work with each other by working with yourself creates a really special dynamic in your own brain.
You meet Little Brother at the gravesite of his mom, who drowned right in front of him. Big Brother calls him over to find that their father is ill and needs a very specific cure located on the back end of a great journey. The two set off together, and learn how to balance each other. Little Brother keeps things fun and loose, but can’t pull heavy things, jump, or swim (a leftover result of his trauma from the death of his mother.) Big Brother keeps Little focused, but he can’t fit through the small spaces or jump great heights on his own. The two are permanently tied together, each brother’s strengths making up for the others’ weaknesses. But when the world makes good on its promises of danger, the game finally reveals what had been hinting at all along: grief can build us as quickly as it crushes us. And it can make us feel empty, while allowing us to do things we never before thought possible.
I once read a poem about how we carry every age we’ve ever been inside of us. Some days you are four, other days you are 14. Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons reminds us that we are not only our younger selves; we can also age in an instant. Our abilities aren’t just learned, they are gifted to us by those who are wiser. Their strength resides within us, even when they are gone. Loss can hinder us, but together, in sickness and in health, we can make sure it doesn’t stop us.