Developer: Number None, Inc
Platform: Number None, Inc/Microsoft Game Studios
Designers: Johnathan Blow
Platforms: Xbox 360, Microsoft Windows, OS X, Playstation 3 and Linux
Who says time needs to be such a linear thing? In Braid, the normal laws of time do not matter. And it makes for an interesting yet challenging game, all the while retaining an earnest quality that few indie games before this have ever been able to capture.
The game puts you in the shoes of Tim, a man searching for an unnamed princess from an evil monster. It’s vague yet compelling; there’s an air of mystery surrounding the loose plot, much of this mystique coming from the whimsical atmosphere and kindhearted storyline. It may sound strange, but the best way to describe the way in which the story is told would be to call it almost gentle – it’s a small indie game, funded by creator Jonathan Blow’s money, and one can’t help but feel that there is an extremely personal connection between the creator and his game.
The first level plays like a standard platform with the player collecting jigsaw pieces, completing puzzles as Tim advances. However, the familiarity of the game is short-lived – the introduction of the time manipulation, which is at the core of the gameplay, quickly separates Braid from an ordinary sidescroller. There is no real death for Tim. Time can be moved backward, always. There’s no penalty for it, either. Time, it seems, was meant to be reversed in Tim’s world. Every mistake can be forgiven by the press of a button.
Each level contains a different stipulation for the movement of time, however. A glowing green substance allows certain objects to stay unaffected by the manipulation, and in other worlds, time automatically moves forward or backward, depending on which way Tim is being navigated. There were times when the game felt nearly impossible and frustrating to no end; but if you’re a gamer who is up for the challenge, Braid will satisfy your craving. Hard it may be, but it is irresistibly enjoyable throughout. For anyone who is looking for an easy way to pass the time, however, run away from this game. You will not find much that is easy here.
The graphics, though, are incredibly easy to look at. The game design is so beautiful that, even if you’re not up for the challenge, it’s worth watching a friend who is more suited to completing brain busters beat the game and simply admiring the design. It’s as if a painting had come to life, beautifully rendered in a way that’s retro but not too pixellated or purposely distorted.
The game was designed to challenge the way in which modern video games are created. Everything about this game aims to defy the status quo. In a way, it’sone of the most rebellious games that I have ever played. Even a highly ambiguous ending, whichmay infuriate some players who are hoping for some form of familiarity, seems like a humongous middle finger to the powers that be – in this case, the game studios that care more about profit than making heartfelt and original games. In this way, Braid is an extremely powerful work of art. It’s open to a lot of interpretation, with no clear answer to the storyline currently known. The game is an indie masterpiece.
The Geeked Gods Score: 9.5/10. Amazing.
Heartfelt, fun, and extremely challenging.