I finished Braid for XBox Live Arcade a few days ago, and I’ve been letting it settle for a while.
Braid is a puzzle platformer in which the player must navigate strange levels to acquire and assemble puzzle pieces. The player may reverse time whenever he pleases (including when he has been killed). One of the first wonderful effects that I noticed about this fact is that there is no loading or saving or any of that, and there is no need for it. Players just rewind back to where they went wrong, and try again. As the game continues, more time-related quirks are introduced, which never fail to astound. I won’t spoil too much of it for you, but I will definitely say that the gameplay is more than adequate, and the puzzles are astonishingly clever. Upon completion of many of them, I was left with a appreciation of the brilliance of the author, as well as a sense of accomplishment at successfully solving them.
The graphics and style of Braid are very strange, but in a good way, I suppose. Each level is like playing inside a painting which constantly and subtly morphs. This adds to the artistic and metaphorical nature of the game, but it may not be to the likings of many people (but what ever is to everyone’s liking?). The storyline and gameplay have an interesting, indirect relationship, in that the storybooks seen in the game sometimes make subtle references to a certain gameplay mechanic. At least, that’s what I got from it.
There has been some talk about whether Braid is reasonably priced at 1200 Microsoft points, or $15. Compared to many of the commercial games for XBox 360, which often cost up to $60, it is well priced, and I think it money well spent, as far as games go. However, I can see where people are coming from, because Braid has only marginal replay value. Once you complete a puzzle, of course it’s not as much fun the next time. There are also other XBox Live Arcade games, which include multiplayer, some of which cost less money. This brings me to another idea: multiplayer Braid would be sweet. If Jonathan Blow releases an add-on or sequel to Braid, which I eagerly await, I’ll be expecting some awesome time-twisting multiplayer fun. Reversing time at the last second so that the chandelier you just dropped hits its intended moving target? Or maybe using time travel and levers to protect puzzle pieces while the opponent does the same to reach them? Knowing the genius already poured into Braid, I’m sure the possibilities are endless.