Braid

Moby ID: 35529
Xbox 360 Specs

Description official descriptions

Braid is a puzzle game disguised as a 2D platformer. The player controls Tim during his search for a princess he has known and lost. Although the objective appears to be rather straightforward at first, the meaning and the motives become much more implicit and are interwoven with the mechanics during the course of the game. From the main hub, Tim can eventually access six worlds that consist of different areas. The start of each world reveals a part of Tim's background and emotions, rather than progressing a storyline. The second to the sixth world can be entirely explored without solving all the puzzles. Difficult situations can be ignored and revisited later. When all worlds have been completed, the first one becomes available and brings closure to the story.

The game's concept is entirely based on time manipulation. Tim cannot die permanently as the player can rewind time at any moment and usually for any length, even all the way back when an area was entered. While rewinding, the music is synchronized in a similar fashion. Rather than a gimmick, rewinding is an essential element to solve the puzzles. The different worlds give a spin to the mechanic by introducing clones as the player collaborates in a parallel reality with a past version of himself, time can be affected through the movement direction, and Tim can create a circular area to cause time dilation. Certain items, enemies, and parts of the scenery are immune to time manipulation or behave in a very different way. Puzzles require close examination of the environment and the behavior of different items and enemies. As such, the game is entirely about solving the puzzle theoretically by applying the game mechanics and then using trial and error to executive it and discover possible flaws in the proposed logic. This also brings limited replayability to the game.

A world is solved by collecting the puzzle pieces. These need to be arranged and eventually show a picture related to the game's story. There is no filler in the level design, meaning that every platform, item, or game element (except for a few enemies) has a specific purpose to solve a puzzle. Fast times can be tracked in a separate speedrun mode.

The later released Windows and Macintosh versions are identical but come with a level editor.

Spellings

  • ブレイド - Japanese spelling

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Credits (Xbox 360 version)

86 People (77 developers, 9 thanks) · View all

A Game by
Graphic Art by
Additional Graphical Effects Programming by
Animation Prototyping by
Additional Sound Effects by
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Reviews

Critics

Average score: 92% (based on 75 ratings)

Players

Average score: 4.1 out of 5 (based on 145 ratings with 7 reviews)

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.

Windows · by NeoJ (398) · 2010

Poetry

The Good
The best a review for Braid can do is convince the tiny faction of players who shied away from the superficially simplistic platform style of the game to finally play it. Let me try that by dropping all the fake "objectivity" and be upfront about it: I adore this game. I wholeheartedly agree with its status as the most shining example for "games as art" and see no good reason for anyone to come to a different conclusion. I don't feel like a fanboy, either. It just comes naturally.

Braid is more than a jump & run. It is more than a puzzle game. Even more than a time-rewinding brain teaser. It is a milestone in its decade's game design and development process, the point where the hugely popular mainstream blockbusters and the innovative indie scene (that emerged out of the frustration about the bland landscape of mainstream gaming) merge into one of gaming's first, big "art game". Like a Darren Aronofsky film that, despite being far off the Hollywood mainstream, unites people who would normally never get close to that kind of film with the underground audience of movie-buffs. Simply because it is that good. There is no discussion about taste or personal preferences. Everybody can look at it and agree: If it's not to your taste it's worth changing your taste for it.

I could go on now and describe the artwork and sceneries that, thanks to a vivid use of particle effects and a structure that doesn't follow the boxy tile-set aesthetics of usual platformers, feel like a Van Gogh painting coming to life. I could praise the melancholic violin score that sets the mood and atmosphere so perfectly. I could try to explain the time-rewinding feature that turns this game from an ordinary platformer into an intelligent puzzle game. How it uses even the most obscure applications of the time-bending mechanics to squeeze every last drop of gameplay out of it. But it is all useless anyway, since not even a screenshots or video footage could explain what it feels like to play this game-- most importantly, to play it through. It's a ride.

The cogs in your brain are running hot while trying to solve the most difficult puzzles, yet you can, literally, run through most levels without touching a thing. Time and chronology mean nothing. The game starts in chapter 2, ends in chapter 1, and that is only the easiest route. Just when you're exhausted of gaming-equivalents of Mensa-application tests, the game throws you in an empty room with a number of open books, each containing a passage of what reads like a novelized diary. Personal tales of leaving home, meeting a girl, success and failure. A reality check in a perfect fantasy, like a real-world slap in the face right in the middle of pure, escapist gaming bliss. Of course, the story doesn't come to a conclusion, starts to spin into a violent loop and, even beyond the finale, allows a million ways of interpretation. The game never makes it easier for the player than it absolutely has to, keeping you at your toes from the introduction to the end, somehow without ever getting frustrating.

The Bad
Are there things to criticize? Who am I to tell. I honestly think that Jonathan Blow knows more about what makes a game work than every game reviewer out there combined. Even the ones I like, whose blogs I read and whose opinion I usually value. They can't do more than give it a 10/10 and shake their heads in confusion about what they just experienced. And neither can I.

I can't even say that this would be "the best game" in any category. It isn't. Or at least it would feel cheesy to give it that title. Braid doesn't need that. It doesn't need top-10 or best-of lists. It's beyond that. Smaller, bigger... out of that loop.

The Bottom Line
It seems as if there is a new trend of rediscovering pure, unadulterated gameplay and using it as an inspiration for storytelling. The result is a symbiosis of the two rather than a two-pronged approach.

World of Goo, even Portal could fall into one category with Braid here. All are popular games that take a single idea, put it into a recursive loop until even the last bit of potential gameplay is discovered and then use the new-found gaming mechanics in a metaphorical way to embed them in a surreal story. A story that could not be told in any other medium, a wonderful world of meta: The sign painter in World of Goo, the training levels being turned into story elements in Portal and Braid's ponderings of rewinding time in the real world... it is a new, fresh pattern that rises out of the boring same-old in mainstream gaming and somehow manages to get wide-spread popularity and pop-culture appeal. You find Braid coverage next to Call of Duty 4 ads and previews of World of Warcraft expansion packs. And yet there is no way even the biggest studios out there could mimic this style by throwing expensive decoration on top of uninnovative gameplay.

Braid, for me, is like a "missing link" between mainstream and indie gaming, a chance for the independent to finally make a living and gather well-deserved respect from the masses. The game is just an example for a trend, but what a perfect example it is. If you call yourself a gamer there is no way around it.

Windows · by Lumpi (189) · 2010

Poor puzzles, poor story and poor references, but hey, it's artsy so we have to like it.

The Good
The backgrounds in this game are very beautiful, every single one of them is hand-drawn and the aesthetic is very original. Braid focuses mostly on looking beautiful and I'll be damned if it doesn't pull that off very well. The art-style for the backgrounds also fits really well with the level-design and the style is consistently present, while also varying enough to stay interesting.

Likewise, the spriting is also done very excellently. I want you to jump on one of the basic enemies and then slowly reverse time, you will see the expression on the sprite change slowly instead of an instant-transition, that's pretty cool. Like with the backgrounds, the sprites fit really well with the overall aesthetic and this all creates a sense of atmosphere that I personally found quite endearing.

Like with "Banjo & Tooie" this game has you assembling puzzles, this time around in order to finish a level off entirely. I actually really enjoy this, I like making puzzles and when done virtually I don't end up with a million boxes and missing pieces.

The Bad
The story in this game is very poorly implemented, to the point of it been a few steps back in video game storytelling. Remember how I said that in "Bastion" the gameplay and story are perfectly put together? Braid does the complete opposite and gameplay and story are kept miles away from each other. Before you start each level there are a few books on pedestals that you can read, each containing an entire paragraph of ambiguous text that is supposed to form the story. Some call this poetry, but I call it retarded. I am not saying that a 2D platformer can't have a story, but when we have to go out of our way to read a load of text before we get to play, then that is clearly a failure. As for the content: I am underwhelmed. Every level just turns around the same thing: Tim is a whiny idiot, he is looking for a princess and the game can't go for a single level without referencing the atomic bomb.

On the gameplay side of things there is nothing groundbreaking to be found either, in fact, the gameplay feels very out of place. The story and atmosphere set the game up as a very dark or at least a dramatic experience, but once gameplay starts you are jumping around with cute creatures while cheerful music plays in the background. At first glance the first level appears to be doing a Mario reference, but you quickly realize that the entire game is a Mario reference. Every single level uses the piranha plants coming out of green pipes, goomba-like enemies walking straightforward until they hit something and weird-looking creatures at the end of levels telling you the princess is somewhere else. The entire game is like this, so I consider myself justified in saying that it's just Super Mario with puzzles and artsy bullcrap thrown into the mix.

Unlike what the creators claim, the puzzles in this game border on the horrendous. Their official strategy guide says that all the puzzles are fair and never involve guessing, but in the very first level I was confronted with a puzzle that demanded that I grew bored and started fucking around with the scenery (turned out you could move the picture frame, thanks for hinting at that, that clearly didn't leave me guessing for random solutions). There are plenty of examples all around and one of the most mind-bending of them is a puzzle where there are two doors and only one key, one door opens and the other breaks the key and forces you to repeat the entire stage. That is a returning puzzle, ladies and gentlemen!

In fact, there are quite a lot of stages that demand you reset everything if you make even one mistake. One annoying example was early on in a level where certain elements were immune to your time-reversing abilities. The only puzzle here was that two platforms were moving towards each other at exactly the right timing, but one was immune and the other wasn't, so in order to prevent a conflict I just had to wait... next to three enemies with varying attack patterns.

Also unfair about the puzzles is that they are incredibly overwhelming. Many stages contain various dynamic objects that start working the second you enter, this creates the problem that the player can never get his bearings before diving into the actual puzzle. Imagine if you're playing Banjo & Kazooie and once you enter Mumbo's mountain you don't start off on top of that hill without enemies, but next to that monkey throwing fruit at you and with no way to escape. As the game is normally, you can observe the monkey from a distance, but in this scenario (which is what Braid does) you are just going to run around in circles because you can't grasp what is happening around you. What Braid does can be done right, like in Ocarina of Time where you enter that icy room with the timer, it gives you a quick adrenaline-kick and forces you to think faster than usual, but when the entire game is like that...

The Bottom Line
Many people praise Braid because it shows that "games are mature" and "games are art", but personally I can only see a poorly-assembled mess of a game. I do believe that some games are mature and I most certainly believe that games art, however I also believe that you don't need to throw in pointless references or ambiguous paragraphs of text to achieve it. I think Bastion is a piece of art, the same can be said about The Path, "art" is not some kind of official stamp that government employees hold meetings over, it's an opinion that varies from person to person. I think Psychonauts is a piece of art, but on the other side I don't care for modern paintings.

If you hang out on websites like The Escapist were any game that a reviewer calls art is immediately consider to be 100% flawless, then this title should definitely be on your to-play list. Besides that, I can only recommend this game to the so-called "hipsters".

Windows · by Asinine (956) · 2012

[ View all 7 player reviews ]

Discussion

Subject By Date
Recommended literature Sciere (930968) Sep 7, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

Braid appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Budget

Developer Jonathan Blow said he invested about $180,000 of his own money in a three year period to create the game.

Inspiration

In an interview with the website Joystiq on 25th September 2008 Jonathan Blow cites the musical influences that initially lived in the same emotional neighborhood as Braid: the album Horse Stories by Dirty Three, the music of Lisa Gerrard, and the soundtrack to Dead Man by Neil Young.

References

Many of Braid's levels appear to draw their names from various cultural sources: level 3.2 -- There and Back Again -- is from fictitious hobbit Bilbo Baggins' autobiographical account of his adventures in author J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit, while level 3.4 -- The Ground Beneath Her Feet -- is named either after a book of the same name by author Salman Rushdie or the U2 song also inspired by the book. Level 3.6 -- Irreversible -- suspiciously shares a title with a French film told employing an unorthodox time flow, while levels 4.2 -- Jumpman -- and 6.6 -- Elevator Action -- are names of video games. (Level 6.7 -- In Another Castle -- is one of many nods this game plays to the great granddaddy of the platform genre, Super Mario Bros.)

Awards

  • GameShark
    • 2009 - Best Xbox Live Arcade Game
  • GameSpy
    • 2008 – XBLA Game of the Year
  • IGN
    • 2009 - Overall Best Puzzle Game
    • 2009 - Best PS3 Puzzle Game
    • 2009 - Best PC Puzzle Game

Information also contributed by Big John WV and Sciere

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Game added by Sciere.

PlayStation 3 added by Kaminari. OnLive added by firefang9212. Linux added by Iggi. Xbox One added by MAT.

Additional contributors: Kabushi, Pseudo_Intellectual, Solid Flamingo, Zeppin, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, Kennyannydenny, click here to win an iPhone9SSSS.

Game added August 8, 2008. Last modified May 23, 2024.