Braid

I try to keep my blog programming related (for some reason), but I feel I have to bring to light to that one guy somewhere who reads my blog a new game for Xbox Live Arcade that came out last week called Braid, and it’s a difficult game to explain without selling short.

In its simplest form, Braid is a time-based puzzle platformer, but it is so much more than that. What it is, is the closest thing to art I’ve seen in a video game in a long time. The levels are water painted and swirl and shimmer in a subtle way that gives the feel of a dream. The music is beautifully orchestrated and is perfectly matched with the visuals (and even sounds good playing in reverse while you reverse time). The story is enigmatic, philosophical and deep. Who thought a 2D platformer could leave you thinking?

Last, but not in the slightest bit least, the gameplay is addictive as hell. Each stage has some of the greatest puzzles involving time I’ve ever seen. I think what is different in Braid is that time control is not a gimmick tacked on but the center of the game itself. For example, its impossible to die. When you are hit by an enemy or fall into a spike pit you simply reverse time. Once you get used to the mechanic, you’ll discover that the game is only 30% platformer and 70% puzzler.

I can’t really say anymore without spoiling anything (story or puzzle) but all I can do is strongly recommend you download the demo. At 1200 points it’s pretty steep but the demo gives you a good preview of the types of puzzles and a gimpse into the story. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea but for me it may just be one of the greatest games I’ve ever played.