Braid: review

  • Format: PS3 (version reviewed), Xbox 360, PC, Mac
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Hothead Games
  • Developer: Number None, Inc.
  • Players: 1
  • Price: £7.99
  • Site: http://braid-game.com/

Being able to bend time around your little finger has always had its perks. It means you can avoid death, burning things in the oven becomes less of an issue, and any social faux pas involving inappropriate acts towards the opposite sex can be changed. That’s just rewinding time though, the real challenge is in slowing it down, speeding it up, creating parallel time frames and just about everything else you need to do if you want to complete Braid.

This game will test you. It isn’t a case of manipulating time to make things easier, a la Prince of Persia, but more to do with changing time to make things possible. You’ll have to do things like reverse time to restore items that you have already smashed over an enemies head, slow down a moving platform so you can grab a key that is resting on it before it drops, and create a parallel of yourself in a different timeline to operate a switch in unison with your current self.

It is very hard to explain and even harder to work out for yourself half of the time, with a lot of the puzzles not just being brain benders, but also tests of great reaction and precision. At times playing Braid can be a bit like performing surgery, only you have a handy rewind button that means no one actually dies when you cock up.

The great thing about it all though is how well it works. You should not mistake the challenge of Braid for a pros only game, as it is warmly forgiving when you go wrong. The rewind feature will probably mean you wear out the button it’s assigned to as you will be using it quite a bit, which is much nicer than in most games where failure means restarting the level. This still doesn’t mean easy mode though, it just means there is a shorter gap until you get frustrated again.

In terms of stuff to do, there are five main worlds which each use a different time based game mechanic. These include objects and enemies that are immune to time manipulation, linking the flow of time to which direction you run in (so moving right takes time forward, moving left reverses it and standing still freezes everything), the aforementioned parallel self and also a ring that slows down all objects in close proximity. These go on top of your handy time reversing abilities giving you plenty of elements to control, but it still leaves you with a sense of being underpowered.

To progress, each world has several puzzle pieces that the player has to collect in order to put together a picture. These are of course in out of the way and half of the time hideously unfair places to get to, really making you think about how to do the puzzles correctly. To make things even more daunting, to access the last level you need to complete all of the pictures which means you can’t give up and leave a piece. Sure you can come back to it later, but you will eventually have to pick it up somewhere down the line.

Braid has had a very nice spell on the 360 and PC, so it is nice that the PS3 now has a version for even more people to play. It is a brilliant indie title that will really make you flex your mental biceps, triceps and other muscles that we don’t know the names of. Match this fantastic, unique gameplay with an equally innovative and charming art style, and you really can’t go wrong with this one.


4/5

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Written by Anthony H

Anthony has been playing games for far too much of his life, starting with the MS-DOS classic Mario is Missing. Since then his tastes have evolved to include just about anything, but his soft spot lies with shooters and the odd strategy game. Anthony will inspire you with his prose, uplift you with his wit and lie to you in his biography.

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