I love platformer games — this is a tried and tested genre that has withstood time over and over again. I mean, really, can anyone get tired of platformer games? Yeah, thought so. When I saw that The Other Brothers had come out, I knew I had to give it a try.
There’s a deep story going on in the game, and you’ll have to progress through the levels in order to unravel it. But instead of being plumbers, Joe and Jim are owners of a body shop, and they stumble upon a crime scene where a red-haired damsel in distress is taken away by the mafia. Yep, already, right from the get-go, the game takes a much darker twist than the Nintendo games, and that’s good. It’s still a nice homage to the original games that started it all, but a much more contemporary setting.
I am in love with the unique visual style of the game. It’s done in 16-bit, so if you grew up with the SNES in the household, then you will love the feeling of nostalgia. The character models are still detailed, despite the pixelated nature and dark settings, and the animations are smooth and fluid on the screen. The soundtrack is also entirely chiptune, so you’ll either love it, or hate it (but how is this possible?). Overall, the visuals and music will definitely invoke some memories of plopping down in front of an old television and spending hours of the day just going through all of the levels.
In each level, you must navigate Joe and Jim through the junkyard, citiy, sewers, and more environments as they’re on a quest to save the kidnapped damsel. You can collect oil cans for points (you can never have enough oil as a mechanic), pigeons, and jump on your opponents to defeat them. You’ll come across big bulldogs, mafia thugs, and scuba divers who will shoot harpoons at you, so watch out! Each enemy will take a different number of jumps to knock out, so you’ll have to find out through trial and error. Each level is timed as well, just like the original games, so you get more points the faster you clear it.
However, my biggest issue with the game were the controls. You move your mechanics with the virtual D-pad in the bottom left corner of the screen, and you tap on the right button to jump. The joypad allows movement left and right, as well as climbing up and down objects.
Sure, this all sounds fine and dandy, until you discover that the joypad is not static — it will change position on the screen when you lift your finger up and place it on the screen again. The buttons are also translucent, so it’s really hard to see where they are in the game’s dark environments.
The fact that the controls never stay in the same place may sound good at first, but remember that platformer games are more about placement memory so you don’t have to worry about where the joystick went for 90 percent of the time. I’m not sure about you guys, but I can’t really play a platformer game where my thumb remains on the screen the entire time. The worst part is the fact that the game does not provide any option for changing the controls to be static or dynamic! So you’re stuck with a D-pad that will be all over the place, resulting in you spending more time trying to get used to the controls rather than playing the game itself.
I am really disappointed with the controls, because they just don’t work for me. They may work for some people, but I also took a peek at the iTunes reviews for the game and see that I’m not the only one out there that has problems with it. I believe that Mikey Shorts really raised the bar on how controls in a platformer should be, and The Other Brothers really falls short on that front.
Honestly, I really hope that the developers update this game with better controls, because I really wanted to like The Other Brothers. But because of this glaring problem, it tarnishes the the experience for me.
I would love to recommend The Other Brothers for any platformer fans out there, especially since this is a huge tribute to the original Mario games, but I can’t until the controls are more optimized. When this happens, then this game will become a must-have.