Pilot Brothers 2 looks great on the surface. A casual gamer opening it up for the first time might think they’re in for something along the lines of Professor Layton. Unfortunately, the actual game is an confusing and unentertaining experience that left me wondering how it even got made in the first place.
The opening puzzle of Pilot Brothers 2 gives fair warning that what lays ahead is an awkward and boring experience. You are tasked with your first puzzle as you enter a shop looking for clues into the disappearance of the brothers’ cat. There is a brief tutorial as to how the (unresponsive) controls work, but as far as the storyline or goal of the puzzle nothing is given, leaving you in the dark as to what to do next.
Tapping on a few items allows you to pick up a knife, book, cheese, and a strainer, but four random items and no clue what to do with them makes for a head scratching moment. Guessing and randomly tapping are no use, as they do nothing, so you are left with an agonizing wait for the meter to fill up making a video tutorial available. Normally when taking a hint in a game such as this you feel relief– finally, a little help in solving the puzzle. Unfortunately, with Pilot Brothers 2 a “little help” is putting it mildly. The video leaves you feeling useless, as it shows every single step needed for solving the puzzle.
The video “hint” shows that you need to cut a small piece of cheese with the knife, take the book and turn it to a picture of a mouse, and then prop the strainer up, creating a trap using one of the brothers’ tobacco pipe. Once these steps are completed, the brothers then ring a bell to order a bowl of mouse soup, and find the witness sitting in the bowl. Using the trap you created the mouse is caught and the puzzle ends. At this point I realized how this game was going to flow, and the dread of what lay ahead began to weigh heavy.
Every puzzle follows the same template: You are in a room with no clear idea of the objective, which almost always makes it necessary to watch a video that tells you exactly how to complete the puzzle. It’s not that the game is overly difficult, it’s just that they don’t give you enough hints to solve the riddles. It would take pure dumb luck to realize that a picture of mouse beside a strainer would be the perfect way to create a trap for a mouse, especially when you don’t even know that catching a mouse is your task.
The best puzzle games contain a large number of puzzles, with just enough hints to make you feel smart for figuring out the solution. This game does not adhere to that logic. It contains nine puzzles that take about 45 minutes to complete. That’s not 45 minutes for each puzzle, that’s the time to complete the entire game.
The App Store description calls the puzzles “fast-paced,” and while the shortness of the game could give the impression that it is fast-paced, it’s actually a slow-paced bore. In attempting to solve the riddles, there is no timer or penalty for mistakes. You can move at a snail’s pace or make as many mistakes as you want and recieve the same result of completing a puzzle flawlessly. There is no risk-reward element: Solve fast, solve slow, or use a video to hold your hand, and the results are no different.
Pilot Brothers 2 is a game that features puzzles that give no sense of accomplishment and very limited enjoyment. Factor in sluggish controls, and it becomes painfully obvious that this is a game that isn’t worth your money or time.