I’ve been a fan of adventure games since before adventure games had graphics, but nowadays the industry seems a bit unclear on what constitutes a member of the genre. The big push these days seems to be towards hidden object games, and while I’m a fan of that particular offshoot as well I still like to indulge in the more puzzle / character oriented fare like the old King’s Quest games. Ironically enough Pilot Brothers doesn’t really fall into that category either, but instead has kind of invented its own style of game play. It’s a two character single screen puzzle adventure, and it’s one of the best games in the overarching genre of adventure games that I’ve played in quite a while.
You play the eponymous Pilot Brothers and are attempting to figure out who stole the elephant from the local zoo. You’ll traverse a number of locations collecting items, solving puzzles and interacting with the locals (mostly animals, oddly enough). There are several little things that help Pilot Brothers stand out from the crowd, but two main features make it rise to the top. The first feature is that you get two characters to use and you need both of them to solve each room since they each react to different objects and situations in different ways. The second is that each room in this game is self contained. You’ll start the room with nothing but your two main characters and end it the same way, regardless of what you pick up in your inventory.
Each room has several hotspots you can interact with that are temporarily highlighted when you click the question mark icon. If you tap somewhere that is not a hotspot and the selected character is able they will walk to that spot. You can either tap on a character’s portrait or the actual character to select them, and often times I find it easier to use the portraits. Tapping an inventory item selects it for use, but to unselect it you have to tap the empty hands icon instead of tapping the inventory item again. Several of the screens contain mini-game puzzles, and a couple of the screens are just mini action sequences, but I can’t think of an instance where you use something besides tapping to control the action. After a certain amount of time spent on a screen you’ll have access to a camera that reveals a video solution for the level, but unfortunately there is no intermediate option between that and seeing the hotspots.
One of the things that make this game so enjoyable is that it’s just plain silly. Sometimes it’s fun to just select a character and tap everything that’s interactive to see how they’ll react to it. Of course there are a lot of basic “I don’t get it” or blank stare responses, but sometimes the actions a character takes when that can’t really interact with an object are quite humorous. There are achievements to earn and you can brag about your exploits via Facebook, but this is one of those games were the most satisfaction comes from flat out solving the puzzles in the first place.
The aesthetics in Pilot Brothers are quite impressive. I know G5’s games come from different sources because they are just the publisher, but there are still certain commonalities between the visuals in their higher end products. Pilot Brothers doesn’t really fall into that crowd, but that’s okay because its unique look helps it stand out all the more. The sound effects do a great job of enhancing the atmosphere, and while you don’t get to hear a lot of voicework, it’s clear from what there is that they did a good job handling the vocal talent. The music is lively and really compliments the crazy activity.
It’s pretty safe to say that even the less exciting G5 games are usually pretty decent to play. When you get one that excels, however, it’s hard to put down. That’s exactly how I’d describe Pilot Brothers. I do wish they had a more graduated hint system instead of just “show me hotspots” or “show me a solution video”, but otherwise there’s not really a whole lot to complain about here. I’m not sure I’d call it a pure adventure game, but it’s a nice change of pace from the hidden object games that G5 is known for and it’s a game that’s all about being goofy, which everyone needs once in a while.
Overall Score: 9/10
App Store Link
This game was reviewed on an iPad 2 running iOS 5.1.1.