I Am Bread: review

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  • Format: PS4 (version reviewed), PC
  • Unleashed: Out Now
  • Publisher: Bossa Studios
  • Developer: Bossa Studios
  • Players: 1
  • Site: http://www.iambreadgame.com/
  • Game code provided by PR

I Am Bread is a bread simulator that acts as a prequel to a game where you perform operations with just one hand – a hand that is incredibly difficult to control – and things don’t get any more normal from there. It’s one of the most famous stars of the slowly growing genre of, let’s say, ‘fumble ’em ups’. These are purposefully broken games with over-exaggerated physics and intentionally awkward controls. As Goat Simulator proved however, releasing a game that boasts about its unfinished state is a fine and dangerous line to walk. Bearing that in mind, let the godawful puns begin.

Bready for release on PC back in April, this slice of whole(wheat)some entertainment has only very recently made it to PS4. There are only seven environments, but at yeast they’re used for a variety of game modes. Speaking of which, all modes are unlocked from the beginning on PS4. Good call – because only a few of them provide any lasting amount of bun.

Story Mode is ostensibly the main attraction, putting you in the crusts of an evil slice of bread slowly driving a man insane over the course of a week (one stage per day). Your objective each time is bread simple: locate and reach a heat source sufficient to toast yourself. Toast both sides, don’t burn, add some butter and/or jam on the way if you feel like doing things ‘properly’. Two of your biggest obstacles to success are the Edibility and Grip gauges. Edibility decreases each time you get dirty; fall on the floor, and this will drop rapidly. Hit 0% and it’s game over, time to restart the level. Grip recharges quickly when you’re not using it, but has a tendency to run out at the most inappropriate times. Just like a real slice of bread, yours can grab onto objects, and move/drag any that aren’t too heavy. Also just like a real slice of bread you can climb up and over objects such as chairs, walls, boxes and sofas. Every second you use your grip to climb decreases the gauge; if it runs out, you fall helplessly toward the floor, praying you land on something clean on the way down.

Yes, you can get your bread to ride a skateboard – though not in quite so dramatic a manner.

As for the controls… hmm, well. We’re not sure wheat we were expecting for bread controls, but what we got was this: use the stick to slowly and awkwardly shuffle the bread along, but rely mostly on the buttons assigned to each corner of the slice (or in other modes each end of the baguette, or halfway points around the bagel). It’s by using the appropriate button/s to grip that you flip your bread around, make daring leaps, turn, and generally act like a bit of bread possessed by the soul of somebody with really bad taste in reincarnation vessels. It really does look…strange, and is sure to amuse an audience of family or friends. In fact, it’s a great game to pass to the kids for a few minutes at a time, making them laugh until they get sick of the unwieldy controls.

The whole point is that it’s difficult to control, yes; but in the structured story mode, with delineated rules and clear objectives, the awkward controls sap most of the fun out of the experience – especially when combined with the finite Grip. In an odd parallel to Super Mario World, if you fail a level twice in a row, optional ‘magic marmalade’ appears next to your starting point which will give you infinite Edibility and Grip – in effect, invincibility. It’s a brilliant idea, but unfortunately not one which transforms the story into a manageable and fun experience. This is largely thanks to the camera, which is the worst that we’ve had to battle in a game for many years. Manual control is little help, often needing constant readjustment while you’re in the middle of complicated and delicate manoeuvring which, of course, usually necessitates being able to see exactly where you’re going. Then there’s the distinctly unintentional glitch of becoming permanently stuck halfway through a bit of scenery. There may only be seven stages and an epilogue, but we still found ourselves forced to restart due to this bug in no less than three separate areas.

The Zero G mode is a neat way of reinvigorating the experience, attaching a series of little rockets to your bread and having all objects float in mid-air. The camera remains a problem dough, and the controls are simply awkward in a different way. Much more fun – and infinitely better suited to the fumbling nature of the game – is Rampage, where you use a baguette to cause as much unnecessary destruction as possible. Better too is Bagel Race, especially as the eponymous bagel can (usually) storm through checkpoints relying on the analogue stick rather than buttons. Given the very limited number of environments, though, these two modes can only offer so much.

Bagel, It’s Cold Outside

One of the rarest trophies is the one for completing the Cheese Hunt mode – because, we would say, it’s the worst one in the package. This time you’re an extremely fragile crispbread, looking for bits of cheese and… that’s it. Your ‘life’ is integrity instead of edibility here, and it’s about as much fun as it sounds.

Given the small number of environments and especially the extremely unpolished nature of the game, I Am Bread costs about twice as much as it should. In the unlikely event that a major update eradicates the unwanted bugs and fixes the camera, we’ll come back to it again and likely increase the score. As it stands however, this merely serves to provide loafs of reminders why games such as this have yet to rise to widebread mainstream success.

critical score 5

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Written by Luke K

He plays lots of videogames, now and again stopping to write about them. He's the editor in chief at Critical Gamer, which fools him into thinking his life has some kind of value. He doesn't have a short temper. If you suggest otherwise, he will punch you in the face.

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