Saturday, December 8, 2012
Blog #8: Review of "Braid"
Last night, I just finished playing through Braid a second time. I held off on reviewing it after my first play through because it is an unusually thematically and structurally complex game. As we know from Indie Game: The Movie, Braid is one of the most critically acclaimed games of all time. However, does the game truly live up to the hype? In a word, yes. Despite, or perhaps because of the simplicity of the platforming game mechanics and how these are tied into the game's narrative, the experience is moving, shocking, and all-together difficult to summarize (that's a good thing in this case). Essentially, you (the protagonist) are a preppy looking boy/man who is searching for his princess. You move through six different worlds, trying to get puzzle pieces that, when pieced together, form images from your memories. Much of this involves jumping on killing little monsters by jumping on them. The game is, in many ways, a critique of these traditional video game conventions. The mechanic that made Braid famous is the ability of the player to reverse time at any point. In this way, the challenge of the game is not to avoid death (that's reversible as well), but to intuit your way through the rather difficult puzzles in each world by manipulating the flow of time. When you finally assemble all six puzzles, you progress into the Epilogue, which is perhaps the most brilliant combination of narrative and gameplay I've ever seen. Upon a first playthrough, you are helping to save the princess from the clutches of an evil knight. You help each other get past obstacles until you finally meet up and then... You watch the level in reverse in which you discover that she is actually running away from you and the knight is her savior. You become the monster you sought to defeat.