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The Other Brothers

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone

Wouldn't bother

Product: The Other Brothers | Developer: Tobgame | Publisher: 3D Attack | Format: iPad | Genre: Action, Platform, Retro | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
The Other Brothers iPad, thumbnail 1
Nostalgia will only get you so far. It doesn't matter how many wistful sighs your game creates, or how many cheeky references to bygone gaming eras you pack it with, you still need a solid core of interesting and engaging gameplay.

Unfortunately, that's where The Other Brothers stumbles. For all of its Mario aping antics, a broken control scheme and a series of jagged difficulty spikes means you'll spend more of your time frustrated than fixated.

Brotherly love

The game is a riff on Super Mario Bros., except rather than plumbers the siblings here are mechanics, and rather than inhabiting a cute fantasy world they eke out a living in a grimy city controlled by the mob and inept cops.

Despite the grittier setting, The Other Brothers is very much a homage to the platform genre's past. You leap around the pixel-art levels bouncing on bad guys' heads and grabbing tool boxes that give you extra powers for a while.

You'll find a pattern-following boss at the end of each chapter, three lives sitting at the top corner of the screen, and oil cans to collect to increase your score. Pigeons act like Sonic's rings, giving you an extra chance if you get hit. No pigeons in your pocket means you're going to die the next time a bullet or a fist finds you.

Unfortunately, those pigeons can fly away, which can be incredibly annoying when you're fighting a boss and need a quick health hit to finish him off. It's just one of a handful of annoyances that spoil The Other Brothers before it has a chance to shine.

Brother can you spare a dime?

The key problem is the controls. A D-pad sits in the corner of the screen, but it's constantly repositioning itself when you lift your thumb up, jumping to wherever you move your digit and missing the fact that you wanted to move in that direction.

In a genre that demands precision, that's just not good enough. You can fall off ladders by moving left or right, and trying to grab hanging chains by tapping up is an exercise in soul-crushing anguish. Throw in a difficulty curve that makes you consider giving up gaming entirely and you're left with a dish that looks lovely but turns to ash in your mouth.

It's a painful shame, because The Other Brothers holds so much promise. In its current state, though, it's really rather difficult to recommend.

The Other Brothers
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 4 April 2013
A messy control system that you're constantly having to fight against means The Other Brothers is a pale imitation of the games it's trying to copy
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Show: Latest | Oldest
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 23:55 - 4 April 2013
Yeah the developers are pretty active on the toucharcade forums, like a lot of other iOS developers are. They're trying to get the update out as soon as possible. Hopefully PocketGamer reviews the update cause underneath the control issues is definitely a very good platformer
Mar 2013
Post count:
Owl84 | 23:35 - 4 April 2013
So glad they're going to update with a static d-pad. I can see myself really enjoying this after the update.
Apr 2010
Post count:
jeffyg3 | 22:32 - 4 April 2013
The game developer said posted they're adding in static dpad controls I the next update. ICad support will also be added. So the control issues should be fixed soon
Feb 2013
Post count:
@xxxAcesHighxxx | 16:22 - 4 April 2013
Totally agree with you on this one H. And having had pretty high hopes for this one, I'm really rather disappointed. It goes without saying that The Other Brothers is a very pretty game, and up to a point, it stacks up gameplay wise too, but you're so right about those controls - they're absolutely AWFUL, and are indeed game breaking.

Over the past few months, my Vita has been taking up almost all of my gaming time, so initially, I put it down to perhaps me being a tad rusty with the touchscreen controls. Still wrestling with the floating d-pad forty minutes later, I fired up a couple of 2D platformers that get virtual controls pretty much spot on - namely Mutant Mudds (which of course has a d-pad with up and down directions) and League of Evil (with just the L and R to worry about) to see if it was just me. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't. Both felt tight and perfectly playable. Going back to TOB after these rubber stamped the conclusion.

If Tobgame/3D Attack can go back to the drawing board and rework the controls, they'll have a great pixel art scroller on their hands. For now though, I'm afraid that it's average at best.