Sunday, August 17, 2008

Game Review: Braid (Xbox360)

MR. BLACK
Since Mr. White is such a lazy fuck and hasn't finished today's blog (and we told ourselves we'd post once per day if possible) I thought I'd fill the void and write a quick game review. You'll probably be seeing more of these as time goes on. Not just games though, we plan on doing movie reviews, book reviews, and whatever else we think needs reviewing. So anyway, on to Braid.

Braid is a puzzle/platformer Xbox 360 Live arcade game that was released last week. On the surface it looks just like another platformer with a unique visual style, but it's much more than that. You assume the role of a guy named Tim who has to travel through various worlds collecting puzzle pieces which then need to be assembled to complete each world. The twist is, each world allows you to control time in various ways. From just rewinding time (the most basic and default skill) to creating a slo-mo radius, to having a shadow of yourself perform various manuevers to aid in solving puzzles.

The art style is also something that needs to be mentioned. The entire game has a very "painted" look to it as can be seen in the attached main screen image of the game. The music--while not created soley for the game--is a collection of cello and piano-driven songs that really complement the visual style.

While most platformers have a very simplistic if not absent story line, Braid does not fall into that trap. It has a very mature narrative in which each world's "themes" reflect. The puzzles obviously get progressively more difficult and I've found myself having to just turn the game off at certain points to take a break. But, usually when you come back to the game and finally solve that puzzle that was bugging the hell out of you, you're surprised at how simple--yet expertly crafted--it is.

The only downside is that it costs $15, but once you finally get into it, it's totally worth it. It's an achievement in game design, art direction, and music and while I'm only about 75% through I can easily recommend this as one to pick up.

If you don't own a 360, the game will be coming out on PC sometime later this year, and possibly a port to the PS3, although no official announcement has been made.

Check out the official, yet sparce, game site here or just go download the FREE demo on Xbox Live.

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