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Pilot Brothers 2

Score: 75%
ESRB: 4+
Publisher: G5 Entertainment
Developer: 1C Company
Media: Download/1
Players: 1
Genre: Adventure

Graphics & Sound:

The Russian icons, Chief and Colleague, return for another odd adventure in Pilot Brothers 2. This time, the mystery is personal when their cat, Arsenic, is stolen.

This sequel follows the same video and audio feel of its predecessor, and its a style that is hard to get used to. The graphics feel crudely drawn and the stylized characters have several disproportionate aspects to them. What results from both games is an odd and somewhat uneasy feeling while playing the game.

As for Pilot Brothers 2ís audio, the voices are all in Russian (to go along with the games signage). Thankfully, the game uses word bubbles to translate everything that is said, but there are quite a few times when something gets lost in the translation. Pilot Brothers 2ís background music does a good job of staying low and out of the way, but itís ultimately forgettable.


Gameplay:

While I found Pilot Brothers 2 more palpable than the first game, it is still a strange adventure title. Previously, I had a lot of trouble getting into the character's heads to understand how they would solve the various issues they faced, but either Iíve gotten better at thinking like the brothers, or the solutions arenít quite as out there as they have been in the past because I found myself able to make progress much better this time around.

When Chief and Colleagueís cat is stolen, the brothers start looking around for any witnesses, and when they find them, they learn that he was taken by a local "experimental chef." The mystery doesnít end with simply learning who the culprit is though; what follows is a hunt to find his (hers? its?) hideout.

The story takes you from one setting to another, forcing you to complete the locationís puzzles before progressing to the next screen and part of the story. As a result, each screen feels like an adventure mini-game, though there isnít a whole lot of content in the grand scheme of things.

As for the puzzles themselves, there are a few classic challenges like trying to measure out a specific amount of fluid with containers that donít easily add up to your expected volume or an unusual form of the sliding picture puzzle, but there are some situations that feels uniquely Pilot Brothers with the possible exception of a Sam & Max game.


Difficulty:

The odd mini-game feel of Pilot Brothers 2 leads to some uneven difficulty issues. One screen will have a convoluted and hard to figure out puzzle, while the next is simply a matter of showing someone a picture. In another case fairly late in the game, you basically have to make sure you are standing in the right place at the right time. Of course, realizing thatís what you have to do takes a few mental leaps, but for such a late puzzle, it is a bit of a disappointment.

Pilot Brothers 2 does have an unusual hint system. Where most games might point you in the right direction, this game plays a video that shows the characters going through all the necessary motions to navigate the screenís obstacles. This is a little cumbersome since the playback always starts at the beginning of the screen, so if you are trying to resolve an issue towards the end of that segment of the game, then you might have to wait a bit.

This hint system isnít always perfect though. Not all of the puzzles have a distinct solution. In one screen, you need to maneuver across a river similar to Frogger, but the pattern of traffic isnít necessarily the same as in the hint playback. Another similar issue happens earlier in the game when you are playing a type of slide puzzle where one of the brothers makes a move every time you do, so you have to plan your moves to make him line things up with you. The problem here is that the state of the picture in the playback isnít necessarily the same when you play through it. In the end, this just means that you shouldnít rely too heavily on the gameís hint system, but it is there when you need it.


Game Mechanics:

Like itís predecessor, Pilot Brothers 2ís biggest gameplay mechanic is the fact that you are controlling two characters. The game does this by letting you swap freely between the two brothers, and you will have to since the brothers donít interact with the same items in the same way. These can range from one brother simply doing nothing when you try to get them to work with an object, to them both manipulating the tapped-on object in different ways. For example, one brother might toss a banana peel away, while the other actually slips on it.

What bothers me about this setup is that it really doesnít feel like there needs to be two different characters and the hunt to decide which character needs to do the action is just an added, and somewhat aggravating, level of complication. There just never seems to be consistency in which character is best to do which job and the result is that it feels like either character really should be able to do the task at hand.

While I enjoyed Pilot Brothers 2 more than the last game, I still find it to be an odd game that left me more confused than satisfied.


-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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