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Braid (Windows)

88
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.1
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  NeoJ (428)
Written on  :  Jan 07, 2010
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Summary

Brain

The Good

When it was released, Braid surprised the whole videogame world because of its combination of platforms and puzzle genres. We must be clear about that, Braid's not a platform game with some concrete puzzles in some certain places, Braid's just the opposite, a puzzle game with a slight platform feel on its design. Braid's key to congeniality is the concept, unique and new in everything like gameplay, storyline or main design. Braid's programming is incredible, playing with the time as no other game has never done.

Time's the main incentive for this game as well as the main headache for the players. The game is divided in different worlds (well... rooms of the main character's house), and each world has a different use of that feature, like going back as if you were Prince of Persia's main character using the sands of time, or using a strange ring that allows you to slow what's near of it. Each world's different, so, what you've done in previous world will not work in the others.

Braid's gameplay is simple, and you'll use (most of the time) just the jump button, and another one to press switches. You have another button to go back in time if you've done something wrong, which means that you're immortal because you can use it all the times that you want or need it. Anyway, you'll realize soon that "loosing a life" is not the worst thing that could happen here (to start with, there are no lives), you won't even hate your enemies, because the main problem are puzzles. Some of them are as complicated as annoying is the main storyline.

Puzzles are perfect, yes, and the best thing on it is the fact that when you play and face one of the puzzles, you'll think that you'll need a skill (like double jumping or something) taken in the future and then come back to where the puzzle is to solve it. Yes, you're right, you can turn back anytime you want to solve those puzzles that you couldn't solve, but there are no skills along the game, what means that you can complete all the puzzles from the start.

Besides breaking player's brain, Braid is a game with good taste, and it pays tribute to many important games such as Super Mario, Donkey Kong or Ghosts 'N Goblins along the adventure. Graphics aren't the best graphics ever seen, but they're unusual beautiful. This feeling is in the whole game, in every art of it, a nice mix including a melancholic story, green stages with many beautiful details and suitable music with clear Celtic influences.

The Bad

Story's a complete nonsense, complicated and annoying. Even the designer admitted it, something abstract without a meaning. When you finish it there are so many different interpretations for what you've played that you'll start looking for an answer and you'll find out that no official explanation exists, only a few clues but nothing concrete. What you see in the game is beautiful until you reach the ending part. Of course, to like or not the ending is something subjective, but that strange story (which is clearly the biggest headache for the player, much more than the puzzles out there) is so annoying that many players will be disappointed once they've spent a lot of time solving those hard puzzles.

Game's length is a big problem because it's really short. Some puzzles need many time to be solved, but some of them don't. Just a pair of them will need many hours, and we must add that we've lost, partly, that spirit of the old school gamer that would never use a game guide, so, it's probably that if you don't know how to solve a puzzle you'll look for extra help, and that makes the game really short (moral: don't use any guide or external help!).

When most of the puzzles are solved, the credit goes to the player. You won't solve puzzles by chance and it won't even help you a bit, but there's a concrete world in which that could happen because of its confusing way of using the time feature. Well, maybe you won't solve puzzles that way, just by chance, but it's possible that you solve some of them repeating different things until you find the correct one, without knowing exactly what you had to do to solve it.

Forget about taking all the secret stars on the game. We're talking about one of those games where secrets are impossible to find by your own way. You won't even know it by intuition, so, forget it or look directly for a game guide.

The Bottom Line

If your looking for a platform game avoid Braid. If what you want is a game with many different puzzles to get a headache or to be proud of yourself once you've solved them, Braid's your game. The design of the game is beautiful, so beautiful that you'll be attracted to it immediately, but what's inside of the game is what makes this game shine with its own light. Besides its short length and the annoying story, one of the most important independent games released.