Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake Review - Screenshot 1 of 4

Years before becoming a household name thanks to a hilarious, impassioned speech at The Game Awards, Josef Fares — alongside Starbreeze — was already releasing quality games. His first venture, Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, is an emotional excursion that sees two brothers set out on a dire journey. Now, Avantgarden Games has taken up the task of remaking the 10-year-old game. But has it held up? In a contemporary setting, does Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake still offer the same level of emotional weight and mechanical mastery that the original did all those years ago? Well, the answer to that is: sometimes.

You play as a pair of brothers — Naia and Naiee — whose father is on death's doorstep with some sort of ailment. A healer in your village tasks you with adventuring to the Tree of Life in hopes of finding the means to save your dad. Along the way, as the two siblings stray farther and farther from civilisation, you'll encounter progressively more eccentric individuals, some of whom are happy to lend a helping hand. Across this harrowing journey, Naia and Naiee must solve a collection of puzzles as they proceed on their quest of salvation. The story is a simple one, yes, but it's emotionally resonant, and the vast majority of narrative elements that were effective back in 2013 remain so today. Telling an intimate, familial story like this is an easy thing to mess up, so we're delighted to see that this is one area where the game has aged well.

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Mechanically, the controls are the most unique feature of the title. You use the left stick to move and the left trigger to interact as Naia, the older brother, and the right stick and trigger to control Naiee. Naia, being older, is stronger and more adept at doing anything that requires height or strength to accomplish, whereas Naiee is more elusive and better suited to stealth or tasks that call for a smaller frame. These controls work brilliantly for the most part, but there are occasional sequences that call for greater precision than the game can muster, creating frustration.

The mechanical differences between the brothers are conveyed just fine, but there are a number of smaller details that really help things shine. The younger brother struggles mightily with levers or heavy gates and the like, whereas the older can't fit between bars or platform quite as gracefully. Most significantly, they have different walking paces, which is a wondrous subtle detail. If you move both brothers in the same direction for a while, you'll notice the gap between them widen considerably over time. Details like this really help the experience to shine, and it's part of why the game's legacy has endured as long as it has.

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While the game isn't particularly challenging, this gets magnified even more by a new feature: co-op. The original versions of the title didn't have a co-op mode; the Switch release in 2019 added the feature and this carries over to the remake. But the game doesn't really adjust accordingly. To the studio's credit, it acknowledges this, saying the game is intended as a single-player experience when you open the co-op menu. Outside of a scant few moments that are easier to handle solo, the co-op mode by and large takes away from the gameplay experience. It’s a brilliant inclusion insofar as it can make the title more approachable for players who might otherwise ignore it, but on a fundamental, mechanical level, it doesn't make the game better.

Part of the problem is, ironically, the pedigree of experience that Fares and his team at Hazelight have crafted in the years since this came out. While the little gimmicky distractions littered throughout the title — a staple of both A Way Out and It Takes Two — do offer moments of characterisation by seeing how each brother handles a scenario, there's not a single co-op idea in here you can't get from the superior It Takes Two.

In happier news, all of the aesthetic changes are phenomenal. The freshly recorded score is brilliant, the art direction remains marvelous, and the graphical overhaul is substantial. Textures and animations look wonderful, though some environment interactions look, to put it charitably, janky. We came away most impressed by the changes to lighting, though. The amount of nuance the title is able to convey with its lighting is extraordinary, with errant rays of light poking through the bedrock into cavernous areas and the like. It's a genuine triumph across the entirety of the title's three hours.

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We wish we could say the same about the game on a technical level, but no such luck. You'll encounter the occasional frame rate dip, though this only really occurred at the very beginning of the game. The most egregious problem, though, was the couple of hard crashes we experienced. One of these also corrupted our save data, and were it not for some fortuitous timing on a cloud save, we would have needed to start the entire game over. Fortunately, we live in an era where rough edges are often sanded away by post-release patches, and we expect the team will do just that in this case.


Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons Remake is a solid retread that occasionally gets in its own way. The graphical and musical overhauls are spectacular, and the emotional heft of the story is intact, but the industry has left the title behind in a lot of ways. The control scheme is still pretty unique, and a rousing success in single-player, but the co-op mode comes with an asterisk. While it's a welcome accessibility inclusion, it fundamentally alters the experience, and not really for the better. Throw in some technical woes and you’re left with a remake that doesn't quite feel up to snuff in a modern setting. However, the core game was incredible for its time, and ultimately remains a moving tale in this refreshed version.