Review / Braid (LIVE Arcade)

Braid is the latest Xbox LIVE Arcade release and labor of love offering from developer Number None. It features the artwork and storyline of Jonathan Blow and revolves around a character named Tim, who has to save a princess over the span of seven vibrant worlds. The game, which is billed as a platform game, plays out like a platform puzzler, challenging players to use their wits and rewind time to collect puzzle pieces that form paintings which adorn Tim’s house and complete the world chapters.

What Dreams May Come. You may have read the rave reviews or heard all the early rumblings about how gorgeous this game is, or how this game is the best example of a videogame as art. Well believe the hype. This game is knock-you-out beautiful. The graphical stylings of the game look like a Monet painting or like the painting scenes in the Robin Williams movie “What Dreams May Come”. Most of the backgrounds have a sharp yet blurred, blotchy effect which is in direct contrast of Tim and the enemies which are sharp and clear. It all works splendidly though.

Traveling Through Time. Braid controls like your standard platforming fare. If you’ve played any of the old Super Mario Bros., games you’ll be right at home. Players can move Tim with the left stick or the d-pad and they jump with the A button. If a player wants to open doors they’ll use the B button, and the Y button will let them rewind time. While rewinding time you can press the left or right bumper buttons to speed things up much like you would do when jumping around on a DVD.

Jigsaw. Trying to nab all the puzzle pieces and the trials that the player goes through as they try to achieve that goal is where the game really shines. Instead of trudging through levels jumping on the heads of enemies, players spend most of their time trying to figure out how to collect puzzle pieces, allowing them to piece together paintings that will lead to them getting a complete picture relative to that world. Sure, a gamer can fly through each of the stages and get to the castle at the end of each of the worlds without collecting one puzzle piece, but where would the fun be in that? Not to mention players can’t reach the final world until they piece together all the puzzles.

Some stages will have you moving in a certain direction, influencing enemy movements that you need to kill to get a piece. Others will have you mapping out routes for your “shadow” to follow, so when you rewind time you can coordinate your path with what you did previously to move on. The puzzles are pretty challenging and there is a real sense of accomplishment when you finally manage to collect all the pieces for a particular area, put them together and look at the work of art they produce.

Honestly. Braid is one of the best games that I’ve ever played. It sounds super cliché to say that this is the type of game that puts being a gamer into perspective, but it’s true. The game may be a little short, coming in at two and a half hours during the first play through, and maybe a little pricey for some coming in at 1,200 Microsoft Points, but if you’re looking for a must-have title to add to your library, and a game that will probably be revered for the ages, then this is for you. The game plays like a cross between Super Mario Bros., Prince of Persia: The Sands Of Time (without the acrobatics) and Portal, and if you’re anywhere near your Xbox 360 and still reading this and not downloading this title, you should stop reading right now and start downloading.

+

  • Gorgeous graphics
  • Witty puzzles
  • Props to Super Mario. Bros. with “Your Princess is in another castle!”

  • Sparse instructions on what exactly you’re supposed to do
  • Way too short
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