There’s simply nothing else like Braid on the Xbox 360.
Jonathan Blow’s time-twisting puzzle game may look like a simple 2D platformer, with its numerous allusions to genre trailblazers like Donkey Kong and Super Mario Bros., but its temporal puzzle mechanics and mature, powerful storytelling help it pioneer its own path. In Braid, our hero Tim embarks on a quest to right a wrong, rescue a princess and manipulate the fourth dimension in exciting, creative ways.
Is Braid worth your time?
Thrilling Mechanics. Braid is a puzzle game in platformer’s clothing. Platforming difficulty is rendered nil with the game’s rewind control, performed via the X button, giving you endless attempts to perfect jumps and landings. We don’t want to talk much about the game’s varying timeplay, which varies through each of the game’s six levels, because discovering and coming to grips with each spin on how time can be manipulated is part of what makes Braid so refreshing. Talking too much about how Braid plays is spoiler-worthy in our opinion.
Amazing Puzzles. Challenging, sometimes maddening, but incredibly rewarding, Braid’s expertly crafted puzzles may make your jaw drop with their ingenuity. You’ll also likely find yourself similarly stunned with your own genius, as you’re forced to rethink how video games can be played and root out your own solutions to Braid’s obstacles.
Gorgeous Presentation. Braid’s painted environments, its cloudy hub world and dark basement dwellings are metaphorically suited for the game’s heavy plot. With the Xbox Live Arcade library choked with bright neon visuals and retro stylings, Braid stands apart from the crowd with its unique visuals. The game’s music and sound effects are beautifully warped by its time rewinding mechanics. Some of the prose may not agree with you, but its well written and easy to digest.
Braid Ends. You can expect to do everything you can do with Braid in about six hours, including completing the game and finding all of its puzzle pieces — not the easiest task. There’s a speed run option that unlocks after you’ve completed the game, but there’s not much left to explore when you’ve run through all six worlds. Consider this negative a roundabout positive, as we’d have loved to explore Braid’s mechanics even further. Braid’s heartbreaking ending (or beginning) makes the culmination of the experience that much sadder.
Get Braid. Get it now. Don’t even think about the cost. Like the under-appreciated Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure, it can be played and enjoyed in a group setting, as the game’s puzzles will require one to modify one’s perspectives on the genre. It’s not only one of the best games to hit Live Arcade, it’s one of the best games we’ve played all year.
Braid was developed by Number None Inc. and published by Microsoft. Released on August 6th on Xbox Live Arcade. Priced at 1200 Microsoft Points ($15 USD). Played to completion.