Braid is simply a marvelous game.Â One could think ‘Mario Bros with Time Control’ would help give an idea, a glimpse of concept, as to how it plays.
But it doesn’t.
Time control was revolutionary with Prince of Persia.Â It allowed the game to be brutally difficult, slaughtering your character left and right, but a press of a button and it was as if it had never happened.Â You had the mix of classic challenging gameplay with the new school though of “I don’t want to play level 1-1, again.”
This isn’t what Braid is.
The first level of Braid is deceptive.Â Rewind time simply is a mechanic to stave off the one hit insta-death dealt to you from goombas, man eating plants from pipes, and cannons.Â By level 2, you are using it to rewind out of pits while holding a key, and later you have levels where time is controlled as you walk left or right like scrubbing in iMovie, your past-life self can act as an shadowy enabler, or black-hole like time effects where it slows as it reaches a point.
Braid isn’t about time control.
None of this actually matters.Â What matters are the slick level designs that require the use of this mechanic to either proceed or collect the puzzle peices.Â In Prince of Persia, the closest Time came to solving a puzzle was to slow it down so you could run through easily.Â In Braid, slick use is required.Â Like hoping on a goombas head while running left to right, so that his death occurs in the future that no longer exists, and you get the extra boost up to a ledge but he remains alive to fetch a key for you later (since, as time moves forward again, you don’t kill him).
Normally I’d shy away from such a spoiler, but mentioning this scenario is like saying Mario picks up a fire flower and can shoot fireballs.Â This is the game’s basic mechanics.Â A series of slickly put together puzzles hidden behind a water color painting.
Braid is really pretty.
Yes, the main character looks out of place.Â He initially turned me off to the game, too.Â But it is purposefully done.Â The game has a beautiful aesthetic, and everything animates wonderfully.Â Screenshots don’t really do the game justice because everything is constantly slightly shifting (which helps when moving backwards and forwards through time).Â The music is fitting, and alters style depending on the world and mechanic currently at play.
Braid is a steal at $15.
Plain and simple.
Just don’t tell me the ending.Â I’ve only just beat World 4.
My only complaint is I know several friends who’d really enjoy this game, but don’t own Xbox 360’s.Â A PC Port should be on its way.