Anyone who follows video game news already knows about Braid or at least has heard of it. The game has been one of the most acclaimed indie hits in recent years and for good reason. I came to the party a bit late –the game has been out for a while – but I can’t resist joining in on the praise.
Braid is a platformer with puzzle elements. The game’s main mechanic is that your character can manipulate time. Every puzzle is unique and each level makes you apply your time manipulation ability in a different fashion. Often objects don’t behave as they should and it takes careful observation of the environment to get through the level.
Make no mistake, this game is hard. I’m not talking about annoyingly-broken hard, or you-have-to-understand-what-the-designers-were-thinking hard. Braid is drink-a-cup-of-coffee-and-bring-your-“A”-game-hard. It takes patience and clear, sharp thinking. It’s a great feeling getting through an area where you were super stuck.
Braid is beautifully designed. Each level has a painted style and I found myself staring at the background quite often. The music is stirring and I love that when you reverse time the music reverses as well.
The story for Braid, while not necessarily related to the game play, is an interesting one – especially for a platformer, where storytelling is usually pretty shallow. At first glance the plotline seems like your standard video game cliché.. The main character, Tim, is searching for a princess who’s been kidnapped by a “monster”. You quickly find from the start, and as you progress through the game, that it’s much, much deeper than that. Tim had committed some sort of terrible mistake and driven her away. His ability to reverse time is a manifestation of his desire to make up for his transgression or maybe even erase it. Tim’s need to atone overcomes even death – he can just reverse time and bring himself back to life..
Braid is a fantastic challenge and an amazing feat considering that it essentially was designed by one guy. Since it’s been out for a while you can pick it up for a really cheap price. Don’t let it pass you by.