When The Other Brothers [$1.99] launched at the beginning of this month, it polarized the many gamers who had been anxiously awaiting upwards of a year for the retro-inspired platformer and finally got their hands on the title. Pretty much everyone agreed that The Other Brothers had a great look, great music, and a ton of personality, but there was one aspect that people either loved or hated: the controls.

To explain further, The Other Brothers team tried to do something new in the world of touchscreen virtual controls. They created a virtual d-pad that was designed to be used like an actual d-pad on a controller -- keep your thumb on the screen and subtly rock in the directions you wanted to go. They even went so far as to implement a small amount of AI for the d-pad itself that was intended to help predict your motions and make you forget about the controls altogether.

It's a nice idea, and based on the feedback in our forums there were definitely some gamers who clicked with the controls and really loved them. A larger majority did not click with them, however, so SimianSquared set out to immediately help rectify the situation with a patch that would add several new control options which you can see below.

The original "floating" control scheme remains, but the visual for the d-pad has been replaced with an analog stick to better reflect how the controls actually work. There's now an option to keep that analog behavior but have it in a fixed, non-floating position. Finally, a straight-up fixed, digital virtual d-pad is a third option, and the one I prefer.

In addition, you can freely move the virtual buttons or d-pads around the screen to wherever they're most comfortable for you, and the size of both the d-pad and set of buttons can be adjusted independently from one another. Like a big d-pad but smaller buttons? Want to swap the positions of the A and B buttons? Now you can do all that and more. Oh, and just for good measure the iCade and iControlpad are now supported in the game, if physical controls are your thing.

This update comes while we're still in the midst of our review for The Other Brothers, so we'll definitely take the new controls into consideration for our final verdict. However, if you jumped on the game during its launch sale but put the game down because you didn't jive with the controls, or if you passed on it altogether because you had heard bad things, now is the time to give it another spin.

The new controls probably won't change the world, but it puts The Other Brothers on par with other iOS platformers and they've allowed me to finally dig in to what has so far been a really fun game.

  • http://www.facebook.com/maa.vangent Maarten Van Gent

    The new control options finally make the game playable for me. Great game!

  • http://twitter.com/RoboRexGame Robo Rex

    Just seems like toucharcade would have reviewed this game the week it came out if there wasn't such a broken control system. Every game deserves to be on the same playing field but I imagine this will at least not be as damning as your original article.

  • Alex

    Blah blah blah. If there was any real beta testing done, you would know how horrible these controls were and to not even put in an option to keep it static on release day was idiotic at least.

    • MidianGTX

      Blah blah blah, insert whiny comment. Where's my sucker.

      • dariusjr98

        Damn...

      • dariusjr98

        Midian, please find an anger management class near you.

      • MidianGTX

        There was more despair than anger in that comment. What I really need is a nice pair of boobs in front of me.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Why do you need more boobs? Seems like you've already got one -- yourself. heh heh

      • Alex

        I'm sorry communist.
        I didn't know I wasn't allowed to voice my opinion on the matter in the comments section.
        I'll be an obedient sheep like you.

      • themostunclean

        Clever.

      • MidianGTX

        Obedient? The majority of my forum posts are criticisms. The difference is that mine are respectful and said with an aim to help improve the games. Yours was pointless, insulting, childish and most likely plain wrong.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        @MidianGTX:disqus -- no, your comments are not particularly respectful, but are often insulting and douche-bag-y. BUT ... I have hope for your growth as a person. :)

      • MidianGTX

        To developers, they are. Developers have earned my respect. The people you'll find in article comments do the opposite and deserve none.

      • http://rekzkarz.com/ REkzkaRZ

        Aha, so if I was a developer I'd get respect from you? Interesting.
        Well, I guess I'll get no respect then -- that said, I do contribute to development -- have provided art, music, beta-testing, and game development help on multiple games.
        The rule I use w/comments is --> is the person adding to the convo? Do they have a unique addition/insight to the convo? Sometimes they do. Generally dev's like to hear from commenters b/c they need the feedback.
        Anyway, continue with what you're doing.

  • dylanmannen

    Icade <3 wooo :D

  • JohnGreenArt

    The control options are a GREAT improvement to the game. While I still fine the character a little floaty (jumping onto and staying on ladders precisely is still a little wonky, as is figuring out where a platform edge ends exactly, or an enemy's hitbox is) with the option to have the controls stick in place I'm no longer accidentally sliding the d-pad around the screen.

    What I haven't been able to really figure out is the difference between the fixed digital and the fixed analog. They are both virtual d-pads locked in place, and seem to control the same to me. The floating joystick feels different from them and is like the original controls, but I can't tell what makes the two fixed options different from each other.

    • drloony

      Jeeze, how much difference do you think there is between digital & analog controls? Your trying too hard

      • JohnGreenArt

        Wow, why is everyone so angry in this thread? I *know* what the difference between analog and digital controls are. What I'm saying is, having played BOTH options on this game, the fixed analog and fixed digital PLAY THE SAME. I have not noticed any difference in how those two differently labeled schemes actually work in *this* game. I can still move diagonally on the ladders with either. If there is a difference, it is so slight that it's not enough to be noticeable while playing. Also, d-pads are almost always digital on real life controllers while control sticks are analog. So why does the fixed analog scheme not use a control stick for the visual like the floating analog does?

    • MidianGTX

      What drloony is trying to say is that option B has 360 degree movement (you can climb diagonally) and C only has 4-way movement.

      • JohnGreenArt

        Having played with both schemes, it's still possible to move diagonally with either of the fixed d-pads. If the fixed analog d-pad is supposed to be 360 degrees, it doesn't actually play noticeably different than the digital d-pad. And since graphically it's a d-pad, there's no visual indicator of full 360 movement. If it really is analog, it should use the stick image from the floating analog control option. But my point is, I know the difference between digital and analog in real life, but it's not a noticeable difference in play in this game.

  • GiHubb

    The controls in my opinion are not the game's biggest fault but actually the finite lives. In games like Super Meat Boy and League of Evil, failing a level wasn't much of a setback as levels were extremely short. Failing a level here requires going through a huge level all over again, this is simply nuts and frustrating. I gave the game a second chance and dusted of my iCade (who knew it could gather so much dust?? Quite a dusty competition with my Wii!), and even though it's a lot smoother with the iCade, I still quit in disgust after failing level 5 for the 3rd time, I just couldn't tolerate having to restart. Simply by adding an "easy" difficulty with infinite lives would solve this. Oh and having to jump on enemies multiple times and having them react in a seemingly random manner is not much fun either. A 2 out of 5 for me. But yeah, it's got nice retro graphics, happy times.

    • JohnGreenArt

      I'm enjoying the game, but agree with your points. The checkpoints in levels are nice, but if you've got no "pigeons" and die enough, you start from the beginning of the level anyway, which is just annoying. Either the player needs more health to start, or infinite lives from checkpoints. Also, an arrow or map or something that tells you which way the exit is would be nice, too, because most of the time I'm dying from not knowing what direction to go (the exit isn't always to the right, which isn't clear.)

      Oh, and the hit boxes for enemies seem small. You have to land directly on their heads, if you're just slightly off you lose pigeons. The human enemies move pretty fast it's hard to get them just right, and I'm lucky of I manage to catch back one pigeon I've lost.

    • Ragnar Dragonfyre

      It's an old school game made by old school gamers. Games used to have finite lives and continues. It was part of the challenge.

      Heck, we're lucky they didn't decide to make you start over completely when you run out of lives.

    • Dams

      You must be a kid. All games on NES, SNES and other console at this age were life limited and hard, and required what we called back in the days : skills.

      But now kids don't like when there is challenge. Everything should be easy and without consequences.
      Entering in the real life will make you depressed, aha !

  • dariusjr98

    I wanted to try this game, but didn't want to yet because of all the overwhelmingly bad things I heard about the controls. Seems like now is my perfect chance.

  • MrSHakerEsq

    The game is still broke. When you move up ladders and ropes the character sways about and easily falls off.

    • http://twitter.com/SquaredApe Robert Cummings

      Try control option C, then.

  • rco

    I think it should be obvious that great platformer controls can't be thrown together in two days. While the new controls are an improvement, they're still well below average for iOS virtual controls. For me, the game is still unplayable.

    • s2cissor9s

      I feel the same way. The mutant mudds controls are the best I've seen so far.

  • Dams

    Seems i was the only one that liked the old controls...

    Players are like grandma now, don't change their habbits ahaha...