Monday 8 February 2010

Braid - Review

Braid is a side scrolling platform game of an old school ilk.  You play as Tim searching for a 'Princess' in Jonathan Blow's weird yet wonderful puzzler.

The game's been available on Xbox Live since mid 2008 but only saw a release on PS3 last December.  It's one of those games that you hear Xbox owners talk about in hushed terms and after completing it today I can see why.  Think Prince of Persia Sands of Time but in 2D and you'll sort of be getting close, but that barely
does the messing around with time function here justice.

The time mechanic works in different ways depending on the level you're playing through, you're basically trying to find the puzzle pieces for six different pictures and at times they look impossible to get too.  Just out of reach of a jump etc.  Here it's about manipulating the environment by rewinding time to put yourself in a position to get to the pieces.  This is an old school puzzler with a twist.

All the traditional stuff is in place, run, jump on enemies to defeat them etc but sometimes jumping on an enemy will rid you of a chance to jump higher so you find yourself rewinding to get them back.

It's also incredibly pretty.  The environments beautifully brought to life by David Hellman.  Each level looks stunning and it's a great reminder of what can still be achieved within a simple concept.  Sound is also a key part of the game with a gentle backing track nursing you through some of the more frustrating moments.  The music also rewinds as you rewind time so you're never too confused by what's going on.

The game gets more complex as you progress, introducing a shadow of your self that repeats your actions as you rewind time and a ring that slows time down within a small area.  It's this cleverness, along with a strange and ambiguous story (your never quite sure if the princess is real or not) that make it such a compelling title.

If you're into COD and like your games in flashy 3D only, this isn't for you.  If your happy to take your chances with something that looks like it's from a bygone gaming age rebooted for this generation of consoles then Braid is well worth a punt.

Format: PS3/Xbox/PC/Mac
Available: Now
Price: £7.99
Developer: Number None Inc./Hothead Games
Publisher: Microsoft Games Studios/Number None Inc. 

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