16
May
09

Braid

    Name: Braid
    Producers: Number None, Inc.
    Genre: Puzzle Platformer
    Platform: PC(Steam), XBox 360 Live
    Release Date: 10-4-2009


While I’m watching other anime which are soon ready to be reviewed, I decided to take a relaxing break with a puzzle game, called Braid. Because the final weeks of school are soon coming up, I’m not too active here, but nonetheless, thanks for reading my blog so far. Other recent news: The updates of Team Fortress keeps me interested to play the game as well, so I’ll give a shot at the Orange Box next time. The screenshots are a bit large (4:3), but this is because my screen is 4:3, while the game is 12:9, so you get those ugly black bars.

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A game downloadable via Steam or via XBox 360 Live, a puzzle game with at least 10-15 hours of gameplay, with no filling space, but a nice variation of puzzles, but they all have one thing in common. The manipulation of time. You’re a guy called Tim, who’s searching the Princess, but he’s blocked because of a lot of traps on his way. But what if he could manipulate time, to reach his Princess? As you progress in the story, however, it says you not to go on, since a major spoiler is awaiting you…The truth behind the story of Braid is very deep, and that’s why this game is so interesting.I’ll explain the real story later(Please don’t read the Story Conclusion if you want no spoilers), but the story a casual gamer will think of is just like the standard Super Mario games:

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Go play Super Mario if you’ve never heard of this sentence before.

His house is built in 6 ‘worlds’ where you have to complete paintings to reach the end. You start at world 2, and end at world 1. There are all small hints that this game is played backwards, as to show the time is manipulated for its reasons. Anyway, every world has it’s special properties, and I’ll list them up for you:

  • World 2: Nothing special, as you get used to the skill to go back in time, in order to evade failures.
  • World 3: The concept of green objects, which aren’t affected by time-manipulation. Not when the object is held, though.
  • World 4: In this world, walking forward makes the time go forward, while walking backward will make the time go backwards as well. This is the ‘hardest world’, since everything goes back if you walk back.
  • World 5: This world has alternate realities. Manipulating time will cause a shadow world to do what you’ve done, while you can do other things yourself at the same time then. Also very hard to control. Purple object will are unaffected by the alternate reality, so the real version will get picked up by shadows as well.
  • World 6: Here, you get the item known as the ring, what slows everything around it. The time will desynchronize around it, making impossible things possible.
  • World 1: The time doesn’t normally go forwards, but backwards.

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Standing on a platform that emits green light, causes you to become unaffected to time.

It’s funny how everything sounds reversed when you go backwards, even monsters…and sometimes the puzzle pieces will go back to it’s place too, it is affected by the time-manipulation. So you really need to think before you act. You need to fix the paintings to reconstruct the ladder going to World 1. But before you fix the painting of world 3, you need to create a star of it. Yes, there’s an extra objective for the ones really wanting to finish this game 100%. There are 8 stars located over all the map, and you really need to be good at this game to achieve them, since they’re impossible to get without a proper guide.

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This is the main room.

Like in world 2, there’s a cloud going at 1 pixel per second, and you need to stand on it in order to obtain a star that’s outside the usual screen(this takes 80 minutes…). In world 2, you’ll see there’s also a platform on the painting, which you can use in reality, somehow. This is needed to collect the second star, but this star is created by pieces of the painting in world 3. There’s a lot of complicated stuff about it, so I’d recommend you visit GameFAQs for that. Just warning you that you shouldn’t complete world 3’s painting before you get this star.

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You can see the star in the upper-left corner.

When you finish the game, another game-mode unlocks, and it’s quite fitting with the subject: Speed Run-mode. Yes, this is just a time-trial version for 6 different laps. You have to collect the puzzle pieces and reach the end as fast as possible, but going back in time doesn’t work, the timer is unaffected. There 5 different maps to run, and 1 run is about the whole game. 1:30h….that’s not too long, heh. Anyway, to save time, here’s the conclusion:

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An example of the time trial, if you didn’t realize yet.

Conclusion

Story(9/10)
The story is masterful and written in a way nobody would think of. It’s cloaked by the fact that they’re talking about a Princess, while they’re actually not. Well maybe for Tim it is. Even though all the books make it look as if it’s a normal story, but he’s actually searching for a nuclear bomb. By collecting the last star, you get to touch the Princess, and guess what happens: BOOM. There are tons of small hints hidden, that show his longing to create a bomb. However, they’re beyond human recognition, so I’d suggest you go to GameFAQs(Spoilers) if you want to find more about it.

Gameplay(8/10)
It’s a pity that this is just a small company who made this game(2 guys and a music team), so this game isn’t that large and popular. I still think it deserves a bit of attention. The variation of worlds add up with the ability to manipulate time. It’s a nice twist, but this game does require a good PC if you’re playing on the PC, that is. An innovative idea. Though the worlds were never combined, like shadows with the ring. It plays just like Super Mario beside the time stuff.

Graphics(7/10)
Nothing special to it, but a good job for just 1 person who did all of it. The reversing of time leaves blur, the backgrounds blend nicely with the type of worlds. Tim looks funny as he’s super-deformed, just like Mario. A 7 for effort and general graphics.

Audio(7.5/10)
8 songs composed by professional background music composers. It’s more or less the linear music, but because of the twists in time, it causes a funny effect, like reversed time, or even sped up. 8 songs isn’t too much of a variation, but the game is short anyway.

Final Conclusion: 8.4
An added half a point for the extras, like finding the most hardest stars, and the time-trial mode, which is quite hard to achieve, but still funny to do as an extra. For just something around €13 you get the full game. If you have a Steam account, it’s quite a nice idea to buy this game, it’s really worth the price. That’s all for now. Oh, and talking about finding the stars, there’s not really much of a reward if you obtain them all, but this what you see if you collect all of them and go to the main room:

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Looking up makes the constellation Andromeda disappear, and gives you a better look at the Princess.
(Having all the 8 stars is necessary)

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