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Braid (Windows)

88
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Pagen HD (85)
Written on  :  Apr 29, 2013
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars4.2 Stars

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Summary

Time and Lions

The Good

Cool characters. Tim is a short guy that looks mature and wears suits and a tie. The way he looks is symbolic of an old soul trapped in a young/infantile body. It is itself a paradox of time. The main characters, however, are a bunch of lions that Tim jumps on in order to gain access to higher ground. The basic obstacles are similar to Metroidvania games. You can only jump so high, so figure out a way to jump higher. You can't crawl through narrow passages, and you can't morph into a ball. The lions can get there and get the items for you.

Visually fascinating. While the gameplay itself is almost zero fun, I kept playing due to the beautiful graphics, and the following reason.

Deep thoughts and sophisticated views about life, the universe, and existence. I'm touched by World 3 and World 5 especially. In World 5 you create a parallel universe version of yourself, and work with that alter-ego to accomplish a goal together. It makes you ponder upon the choices you have made in life, and how things may have turned out differently. In World 3 a type of glowing objects is introduced that isn't affected by time. It's a symbol of eternity, The Constant, the things in life that never change no matter what happens, such as family, such as There Is A Light That Never Goes Out.

You can't die. It's a game with an undo button that can undo everything you have done. Obviously inspired by the game/software development process itself, as you can type something, change a line of code and then undo. This is a very, very cool and useful feature, that would have been very helpful in a lot of other games.

The Bad

However, Braid doesn't feel any more user-friendly with this unlimited undo feature. You can't die. But you can't solve the puzzle either. About 20% of the puzzles can be solved by a normal person. About 20% more can be solved if you think really hard. The rest of the puzzles are too difficult. Braid really could have been 500% better, if it had just included a hint system. Give me three hints to each puzzle piece. I have to do things to earn the hints. That'll make the gameplay fun. But right now, it's not fun at all, and you constantly have to read a guide just to complete the level.

After reading the guides, it seems that each puzzle has only one, unique solution. How can a game that covers a topic so broad and deep, be so narrow-minded at the same time?

How about this: Let's summon Tim right now and rewind back to the day Braid was released, and surround Jonathan Blow, the project manager, with a bunch of lions and rabbits that are immune to everything ever. The lions and rabbits will not go away until Jonathan Blow give us three hints to each puzzle.

The Bottom Line

Unless you have the ability to manipulate time, and then manipulate Johnathan Blow, there really isn't any fun in Braid. It's probably not meant for that either. A game that aims to provide not fun, but deep questions, and eternal answers.