From Doctor Who to Back to the Future, I absolutely love the concept of manipulating time. The countless possibilities that lay before you if you were able go back and forth, minute-by-minute fascinates me and that is probably why I love Braid so much.
In Braid you are the manipulator of time. When boiled down to its essence, Braid could be described as a puzzle-platformer, but it would be an insult to its name to leave it at that. Braid’s ominous protagonist has the powers to change time, back and forward, as he wishes. His aim in each level is to collect puzzles pieces to create puzzles and complete the World. At first the concept seems stupidly easy. For example, if you make a wrong decision you can just rewind and start again, right? But what Braid does so well is challenge you and literally push you to the limit to the point your brain hurts.
The puzzles in Braid are hard, no two ways about it. They remind me of the film Inception. Braid does not mummy cuddle you at all and instead throws you into the game with the basic control fundamentals and then watches you squirm. However, that is what makes Braid so great. The feeling of elation as you finally work out how to unlock a certain door to reach a certain puzzle piece is brilliant and knowing that you figured it out all by yourself only adds to that. On the other hand, this makes Braid is very unforgiving. If you are really stumped on a level there is no hint or help button sitting cosily in the corner of the screen. Just get on with it or give up.
Braid manages to be varied as well. It could have easily sat on its laurels and just churned out the same puzzle concept in different settings, but it didn’t. Each level seems to offer something unique and different. Once you think you have mastered the game, you get hit with another, more complex, puzzle to work your head around.
Braid doesn’t falter when it comes to graphics and sound either. Its water-colour style is fresh and simply beautiful. The music fits so well with the games pace and the sound effects are crisp and detailed.
There is nothing that could possibly be added to Braid to improve it. Its distinctive approach to the platformer makes Braid unquestionably the best in its genre and an absolute bargain. Bye-bye Back to the Future.
Developer: Hothead Games
Price: $10.99 (£10.99)
Description: Puzzle Platformer with Time Manipulation!
Pros: Everything (concept, longevity, sound, graphics…)
Cons: Brain ache may occur.
Advised Control Method: All (Keyboard control)