Braid PC Review
As of late I’ve noticed the development of a bad habit. I buy great games and don’t make enough time to play them. They sit in my library taking up space and collecting digital dust. One of those games just so happens to be Jonathan Blow’s Braid. Braid released on Steam April 10, 2009 which means I’m four years late, but with the recently added indie section on the PS3 I thought it would be worth a late to the party review.
The story of Braid is somewhat reminiscent of Super Mario Bros where the main character, Tim, is in search of the princess who was snatched by a horrible monster. Unlike Super Mario Bros Tim doesn’t have the ability to throw fireballs or eat mushrooms, but what he does have is the ability to rewind time. Using this power you must navigate six worlds in order to find out what has become of the princess.
The storyline isn’t the only thing that reminds me of Super Mario Bros, the monsters and even the ending of the levels are really similar. There are small brown creatures that resemble goombas as well as plants with a mouthful of teeth that pop in and out of green pipes, sound familiar? When you finish the last stage of a level there is an odd dinosaur that updates you on the princesses whereabouts.
There are a total of six rooms in your house, within each room there’s a door that acts like a portal to a new level. In each level there’s books placed on podiums that provide more information on the narrative. Additional doors lead to levels that are necessary to clear in order to gain access to the other rooms in your house. The books are what tell the story of Braid. Each book contains an entry giving you some idea of what the history is between Tim and the princess. There are also puzzle pieces that you can acquire and assemble in order to get a better picture of the much implied plot.
Each level of Braid will require you to use your time rewind ability to gather puzzle pieces, but you don’t necessarily have to collect all of the pieces in order to complete the level. You can literally blast through the whole level without collecting any pieces, but that’s no fun at all since the pieces help give you a visual representation of the story.
In the first few levels you will only use the time rewind power, then later you are introduced to new powers and effects. It seems that each level introduces a new gameplay mechanic to master in order to traverse that level. I don’t want to detail subsequent abilities because I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but they are pretty cool and unlike most powers I have seen in games.
Braid’s visuals are absolutely beautiful.I felt like I was playing inside of a painting while listening to soft piano music. It’s a decidedly serene experience.
What kept me playing Braid, besides the imaginative platforming puzzles and beautiful visuals, was the mystery of what happened to the princess. Even after beating the game I’m still a little confused, but I think the journey is probably what’s more important than the end destination. While I didn’t find anything inherently wrong with Braid, I did find it’s plot a bit recycled, and it’s price tag a bit high.
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