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Soul Brother


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DoraSoul BrotherIn general, if we're late for work and our car gets a flat, the best most of us can offer is a contrite call into management. But what if we could immediately leap into another car, and another, no matter how many times we broke down? Now replace "car" with "hapless unsuspecting host body" and you've got something like Jasper Byrne's retro platformer Soul Brother, where a swift and painful demise is only the beginning. You play a little ghost-like creature whose primary means of transport is hijacking the various creatures that inhabit the realm and assume control of all of their motor functions.

Use the [arrow] keys to move, and tap the [down arrow] to read signs, which will inform you of the abilities of each creature you encounter, as well as any other pertinent information. Different animals have different powers, such as flight, double-jumping, or, uh, being really, really tiny, and it's up to you to figure out how to use each one onscreen to get to your goal. You'll usually need to control more than one critter to pass each area, so whenever you need to "jump ship", just take a nosedive onto the nearest fatal object, of which there are many. If all the creatures onscreen die, the area resets to its original configuration, and you're booted back to the entrance in the body of the animal you came in wearing. If forcing a docile creature into mind-controlled slavery and possession seems a little callous to you, well, I don't know about you, but if I lived in a world full of arrow traps, floating saw blades, and angry robots, I'd probably expect to be dead at least three times before my morning cup of coffee anyway. It's like something on National Geographic, only with 100% more immediate, painful reincarnation.

Soul BrotherAnalysis: Soul Brother's presentation is, without a doubt, fantastic, from its Tomogatchi-Meets-NES style of visuals to the relentlessly energetic and catchy soundtrack. Each screen represents its own challenge or puzzle, and while this means the game is appealingly packed with opportunities to showcase your 1337 possession skills, it also means you can probably expect there'll be at least one stage that will reduce you to a frothy lather of frustration shaped like a human. Especially if you intend to track down all the bonus gems. It doesn't really approach Meat Boy levels of difficulty, but certain areas can be so hazardous and require such careful timing and platforming that being forced to restart them stings more than it should, particularly since some of the creatures don't control as fluidly as you might hope.

But if you're looking for a challenge wrapped up in one weird and wonderful package, Soul Brother will not disappoint. It's got a ton of character all its own, and puzzling your way through each progressively more difficult stage by the skin of your teeth (or beak... or worm... mush mouth) is pretty satisfying. It won't be for everyone, but you don't have to be a non-corporeal body snatcher to appreciate its charm. One wonders why you don't just float your ghostly butt past all the obstacles, rather than forcing harmless animals to hurl themselves into death over and over and over... but I guess you'll have to play it to understand it.

Play Soul Brother

18 Comments

hmm on chrome portable 11.0.696.57, i seem to randomly loose control of the character. anyone else having this? sometimes i can make it a few screens and then he just stops responding, sometimes it's right away.

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Woo! HARD game!

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SonicLover Author Profile Page April 28, 2011 4:40 PM

There's a room in this game titled "Kobayashi's Unfriendly Adventure". That room is single-handedly responsible for raising my death tally from under 20 to over 90 and counting.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page April 28, 2011 4:44 PM

Over 100 and counting. The hardest jump is the one from the farthest-left whole platform on the lower level to the half-platform to the left of it.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page April 28, 2011 4:48 PM

Over 110 and counting. That's not to say I don't die in other places, too; another common one is dropping through the hole beneath the gem after getting it and failing to land safely. It's harder than it looks.

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SonicLover Author Profile Page April 28, 2011 4:50 PM

Phew! Got it with my tally at 112. If there's a "finish with all 33 gems and having died under x times" award, I'm not getting it. Ever.

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XD
Got AN ending.
25/33 Gems

Banana, Plum, and one other fruit.

11 or more Gems, 22 or more Gems, and reaching the end in under an hour. Any others?

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CoochDog Author Profile Page April 28, 2011 5:05 PM

Great game! I love the music and the graphics, plus it's got a cool gameplay mechanic and it's quite challenging.

Here's what I got at the end:

Got a banana and a plum for finding 11 and 22 gems, respectively (I had 30); plus a lemon for finishing in under an hour and a pear for dying less than 50 times (44).

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Oh good, glad to see this up here. I've been obsessed with this since Terry Cavanagh plugged it on his blog last week. In level design, music, room names, and are-you-kidding-me platforming challenges, this certainly feels like VVVVVV's spiritual successor.

I've gotten all the "regular" fruits:

Beating the game for the first time; dying at most 50, 25, and 0 times; finishing in less than 60 minutes, 20 minutes, and 5 minutes; collecting 11, 22, and 33 gems

There are still five empty spots, and I'm out of ideas. Finishing with no gems seemed like an obvious thing to try, but no dice. Finishing in under five minutes with no deaths doesn't do anything either. Getting all the standard fruits at once is almost certainly impossible, since even a perfect pass through all the nooks and crannies of the world would surely take more than five minutes. Anyone know what to do?

Also, there's a neat special ending

if you've seen the whole map, including the secret areas.

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this is by far the best of the adult swim games. still striving for the perfect run

(under 5 minutes, 33 gems, 0 deaths)

. don't think it's possible.

you get a pretty special treat for getting

0 deaths and 33 gems

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Booki Kiba April 28, 2011 10:11 PM

WARNING: This game may cause dizziness. Seriously, those stripes in the background...

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Anyone know how to get to the very top-right corner?

I tried bringing the cat into the temple via the Artefact, but I couldn't make the big jump in the Martyr. The only point of entry seems to be going left from Daisy's room, so...

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discount breitling Author Profile Page April 29, 2011 11:03 AM

Getting all the standard fruits at once is almost certainly impossible, since even a perfect pass through all the nooks and crannies of the world would surely take more than five minutes. Anyone know what to do?

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Hey, that's what I said.

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Awesome game! Did anyone else notice the allusion to the classic BBC Micro game Citadel?

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Itsame May 1, 2011 8:06 AM

It's "Tamagotchi"! Pls don't insult my culture/ order of Tamagotchi-breeding brethren.

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I found a bug.

If you get to the screen above the "tree of rebirth" as the cat, and jump at the spike wall, it's possible to die and enter the below screen at the same time. I ended up stuck dying over and over, even after refreshing.

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Vertigobee Author Profile Page May 6, 2011 2:44 PM

This is too cute. The graphics are gorgeous; I love the rainbow colors and adorable characters (the jumping cat is my favorite). And method of reincarnation is pretty funny. Games like this are the reason I check this site everyday! I don't play most of the games that get posted - but every once in a while there's that game that I play over and over and over...

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