In 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.
Analysis: 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.