Since a certain plumber named Mario completed his apotheosis and ascended to the official seat of Platforming God decades ago, there have been tons, and I mean tons, of imitators. But every now and then, you get less of an imitation and more of an homage, and even less of the time, those homages happen to be really fun games. The Other Brothers from 3D Attack Interactive and Simian Squared is just such a game, with tight platforming and some of the most eye popping hand painted pixel art this side of Brooklyn. The controls really hold the rest of the game back, but they aren’t bad enough to ignore this platforming gem.
Join brother mechanics Joe and Jim on their classic platforming quest to save a damsel in distress from mobsters, mutants, and robots. Essentially, this is a “What if” scenario, if Mario and Luigi had never gone to the mushroom kingdom and instead were stomping heads left and right in a more gritty and realistic city environment. Don’t let the word ‘realistic’ throw you though. This game is bombastic as can be, with death defying leaps, mutant rats, giant robots, and all the oil cans and pigeons you can collect.
Pigeons act very much like rings in Sonic the Hedgehog. If you get hit while in possession of some pigeons, they fly away, leaving you with none. If you’re hit again before catching one, you die. Enemies often take multiple hits to kill, and have different attack patterns to memorize as you play. There is a lot of emphasis on old school collection and speed run challenges. The game is fairly short at the moment, and even shorter if you blaze through the levels ignoring hard to reach collectibles. But for a completionist, this game provides loads to do. Also, there are more levels coming for free in future updates.
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With the mouth watering pixel art, energetic chip tunes, great sense of humor, and tight physics, this is a near perfect platformer. Sadly, the virtual button controls are very poorly implemented. Mainly, the floating D-Pad. It’s floating so that you can place it wherever you want, for comforts sake I imagine, but as you move left and right, and heaven forbid, try to climb ladders, no matter how you move your finger, it seems to push the D-Pad all around the screen. The immediate backlash to these controls has already lead to static controls coming in the next update though, so really, I’d recommend sticking by this game. The controls take some getting used to, but they are manageable, if annoying. Everything else in this game is just too good to pass up on. You can download The Other Brothers for two dollars at the time of this review. And you should do that.