August 14, 2008

Review: Braid

Braid hurts my brain. No, seriously. It's the toughest game I've played since Portal, and Braid is tougher than Portal. In Braid, you play a redheaded young man in a business suit named Tim who is in search of a princess. In each of the six worlds of Braid, you can manipulate time in a different way. Throughout all the world's, however, you are given the ability to rewind time.

At its core, Braid plays like a platformer. You can wizz through the game in no time simply by making your way to the end of each level, but then, you're missing the point. To complete the game fully, you must collect the puzzle pieces scattered around the levels. That's where the brain hurting comes into play. You must use your time-manipulation powers to complete puzzles and collect pieces. Only then can you truly conquer each world.

Dying is not a factor in Braid, because time can be rewound. But the point is not to survive, it is to strain your brain. Each of the six worlds gives you a unique time-control element that you must master if you are to collect all the pieces and complete the puzzle. For example, the first world introduces the concept by simply letting you rewind time. After that, things get challenging and the worlds get progressively harder. In one, time moves in the direction you move. So if you walk to the right time moves forward, but walk to the left and time rewinds. One world creates a duplicate Tim that will preform your future actions once you rewind time, while another lets you create a bubble that slows time down inside it. It's very creative and very challenging.

Not only does Braid play well, but it looks and sounds fantastic. It's the most peaceful game I've ever played. The game looks like a beautiful oil painting and the music is very tranquil. The sound effects when you manipulate time are very well done too.

From top to bottom, Braid is a game worth playing. If you like originality and working your brain, this game if for you. If not, try it anyway, you might like it!

Visuals: 10- It's... just wow.
Gameplay: 10- Original and awesome.
Controls: 10- Simple as can be.
Sound: 10- Fantastic soundtrack and effects.
Replay Value: 7- The game isn't terribly long, but the puzzles will keep you occupied for some time. There is an option for speed runs, and the hidden stars will keep you searching for eons.
Overall: 9/10

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