It's another chilly day in the frigid mountainous north-lands. As seems to happen so often, an errant gust of wind has blown your family away from the safety of your cavern. With all the clanking machinery, dangerous lava pits, and mysterious ruins lying about, they could be just about anywhere. Yet... a icy wind is blowing and the fire is never as warm when you sit by it alone. And so you tighten the hood of your parka and set out for adventure. After all, protecting the sibs is what a Brother is supposed to do, right? This quirky new point-and-click puzzle game from Luke Thompson may have an arctic aesthetic, but it has a very warm heart indeed.
Using the mouse, you must click your way about the mountain range, solving puzzles and collecting items with the ultimate goal of rescuing your family members. Clicked items can be manipulated or added to your inventory. Some puzzles have clear rules to be followed, while others require experimentation to proceed. The fires scattered about act as transporters, and can save you quite a bit of walking once they're lit. Above all, Brother is a game of exploration and observation, and it's hard not to be soothed by its measured pacing.
With its cute visuals and sedate atmosphere, Brother is reminiscent of Samorost, if with a more technical edge to its challenges. The frozen landscapes have a gorgeous sparseness and the plot, while minimalistic, is immediately gripping: invoking concern for a lost family may be an easy way to create drama, but it is undeniably effective. Some of the puzzles do tend to the brute force solution of "clicking everything to see what works", which is compounded by the distinct lack of documentation. It's relatively easy to suss out what your goals are through trial and error, but it's frustrating when a "help" button sends you to a YouTube video, rather than an instruction screen. Still, the parka-clad protagonists with their colorful garments and pictogram language have a distinct charm. Their adorableness may certainly cause you to feel that you owe it to them to solve every puzzle and bring them home. Overall, Brother has the appeal of a mug of hot cider at the end of a blustery day.