[gameinfo title=”Game Info” game_name=”” developers=”Number None, Inc” publishers=”Microsoft Game Studios” platforms=”” genres=”” release_date=”August 6,2008″]
Original games are hard to come by these days, almost every one seems to be a mixture of ten or so games released in the last couple years, but once in a while we are thrown a gem that doesn’t cease to amaze us. This time around it’s Number None Inc’s Braid. The standard story of the average guy trying to save the infamous princess, but in this game you can not die, nor lose.
The idea seems a bit odd in a video game that actually involves a plot, but it was pulled off with the magical skills only Houdini himself would rival. You progress through levels trying to reach a castle to save the princess, but each level has intricate logical puzzles to complete that get tougher as you progress.
Calling them “logic” puzzles is actually somewhat misleading, as many of the solutions seem to defy logic at first. That is until you learn to play by Braid’s particular brand of logic. Every world forces the player to come to grips with a new mechanic. In one world, for example, walking to the right causes time to move forward, while walking to the left causes it to move backward. It’s definitely confusing, but everything follows the same rules once they are established. Thus, every solution makes sense according to the game’s logic, even if your brain screams that it can’t be true.
The game’s controls are simple enough that Braid could have been released on a console made ten years ago. You simply use a thumbstick, and three buttons no more, no less. The left stick controls movement, A controls jump, B is your action button, and X is the magical button in the world of Braid. X is the rewind button that controls everything, and will be your most used button. If you’re killed by an enemy or need to solve a puzzle, a simple press on the X button will bring you back to where you need to be.
Braid is fantastically beautiful as well. Every character and every background is infused with color and life. The game’s world is pulled straight from an impressionist painting and flows with subtle animation. It’s gorgeous and lush, these adjectives aren’t usually used when describing an arcade game.
For most, the $15 price tag is the only real barrier, so let’s break it down. $15 dollars is considered a lot of money for an arcade game, but you have to remember Braid is an original game created by one man, not a billion dollar company. You’re getting at least six solid hours of playtime, and that’s only if you rush through it without absorbing everything in the game. Plenty of retail games out there that offer less entertainment for four times the price. The fact Braid is one of the best gaming experiences to come along in quite some time only makes it better.
Braid, Number None Inc’s first game release, will in my eyes, win numerous awards this year. It combines amazing gameplay, beautiful graphics, and enough entertainment that the story itself could be played numerous times without getting bored. The fact the game is only $15 is just icing on the cake.