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Game Review: Braid

Okay, so I’ll cut to the chase: if you have a 360 and don’t yet have this game, then buy it immediately. Don’t even bother finishing this review, that would only delay your enjoyment.

Braid is a side-scrolling puzzle game, which is a genre which, for me, tends to have a “Time Until Thrown Controller” measured in seconds. The basic premise is that you have to go from world to world, collecting puzzle pieces by using your environment and manipulating the flow of time.

This is in the same way that two people play chess by shuffling little carved figurines around a checkerboard.

First of all, the presentation of the game is simply stunning. The music is not only rich and evocative, but well-suited to the game (it even responds to the player’s manipulation of time). The artwork is beautiful, with a water-color aesthetic which is fairly novel. The net result is that the game itself, absent of game play, is extremely sensually rewarding.

Combine with this the fact that the gameplay is addictively engaging and the game ends up firmly in “must play” territory. The puzzles are interesting and while it would seem that the whole “temporal manipulation” thing would make the game a one trick pony, the theme is played with enough over the course of the game that it never gets old. (E.g. some objects are immune to manipulation, others move back in forth in time as one’s character moves around in space, etc.) It’s a little more expensive than some other XBox Live Arcade offerings (about 15 bucks), but it’s well worth the money.

Posted in Geekery.