Game Review: Braid
Released: August 6th, 2008
Developer: Number None Inc.
Platform: Xbox 360 (XBLA)
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points
ESRB Rating: E10+
BBFC Rating: 12
Braid will find it’s home within the Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) family easily, and with much appreciation as well. With the amount of trash on there, it’s nice when we finally get a lily to sit among the weeds. Braid will remind gamers that XBLA is not all shit, and that even though a 1200 points price tag is a turn off, it’s definitely worth the money.
Braid is a 2D side scrolling Platform game (yes, I know we have about a million of them now) with a Puzzle aspect to the game, much like collectables, however they enhance your understanding of the story, and the Braid universe as a whole. This is in the form of collecting jigsaw pieces throughout each of the game’s “Worlds” in order to build a picture showing various scenes. Again, the pieces are optional to collect, albeit some are difficult to get in the first place, so you can progress through the game without getting any.
It’s not all jumping and collecting though, Braid has something else to offer… the ability to stop, reverse, and fast-forward time. When you die, you just press and hold ‘X’ and time will reverse in real-time (including the music), until you find a point you want to start again from, and you just let go of ‘X’. You can speed up time reversal by pressing ‘LB’, and fast-forward by pressing ‘RB’, of course whilst you’re in time change mode (holding ‘X’).
Braid uses a kind of oil painting look for background scenery, and if you’ve ever seen ‘What Dreams May Come’, you’ll be familiar with it. For the foreground and characters it’s a very retro cartoony look. It’s pretty, the colours are beautiful, the graphical detail is nice and vibrant, and it really is just a pleasure to look at.
Some of the death animations make me chuckle aswell.
The soundtrack for this game fits perfectly with the style of play and general story/mood. Cheerful melodies, incandescent riffs and harmonies, a credit to the musicians behind the songs, because there is nothing I can fault with the music in this game. The only thing I’ll point out, is there isn’t a vast array of songs, so sometimes they can be repetitive. Sometimes is the operative word here, as it’s just lovely to listen to anyway.
There are several ‘worlds’ to play and finish, as well as the before mentioned jigsaw pieces to collect. All of this should keep you busy for many hours, as the game is not easy overall. However, there is no Multiplayer, and no word of Downloadable Content yet (obviously) for extra worlds and stuff, so the only reason to keep playing after completion, other than enjoyment, is the Speed Run mode, where you try and complete levels and the game itself in under a certain time. There’s lots of hours to be had out of this game either way.
This game is almost flawless, and even the 1200 Microsoft Points shouldn’t put you straight off. At least give the free trial version a go, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it. There’s lots to do, it reminds us of what pick up and play platform gaming is on XBLA, and is certainly enjoyable. Definitely an excellent addition Live Arcade.