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Wednesday | September 19, 2018
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Braid (PC)

Braid (PC)

Braid was released last year on Xbox Live Arcade and received passionate acclaim from both critics and the public. It was a compelling and fascinating title from a small independent developer which proved the point that sometimes the most creative concepts don’t come from huge publishing corporations. Today we take a look at the PC version which is available to purchase on steam.

The PC version of Braid is a faithful copy of the original Xbox title although obviously now it is playable with a keyboard as well as a gamepad controller. When I fired the game up for the first time the whole experience reminded me of Super Mario Brothers with a very stylistic art presentation.

You have a princess to rescue, castles in your path and a plethora of enemies you have to jump on to destroy. The pace is reasonably slow and Braid is a combination of classic platformer and intelligent puzzle game. It is one of the most original titles I can remember playing because the mechanic, pastel style art direction and ambient background music are created to relax your senses, yet your brain has to be extremely active to deal with some of the challenges presented. This is not a game for a casual gamer because some of the puzzles are really rather tricky to beat and to many it will prove frustrating. FPS purists need not apply.

You play as a guy called Tim who lost a princess due to a mistake he made in the past. To progress in the game, you have to travel through various worlds and collect the pieces to a series of puzzles and then assemble the puzzles to form pictures that tell of Tim’s story. This is almost a story of sadness and regret and one that ends up rather sombre and is a welcome change from the save the world theme we are force-fed in most games.

I said earlier that this game will not appeal to gamers who don’t like a mental challenge but equally so Braid will appeal to those of us who don’t have lightning reflexes. Tim has the ability to rewind time, so if you fall to your death, a simple press of a key will rewind your experience so you can take a different course of action. Additionally, this rewind mechanic takes on a new meaning once it starts becoming incorporated into the puzzles. Some items that glow green are immune to the time rewind mechanic, so you need to work out how to use these to your advantage in other ways.

As the game progresses the time manipulation starts to play an integral part with advancement and puzzle solving. In one world for example time goes into reverse when Tim moves to the left. In another you can create bubbles that will slow time. One of my favourite concepts was the world in which you create a doppleganger who lets you be in two places at one time. Developer Number None Inc, have pushed the boundaries with the creative aspects of puzzle questing in Braid and they really do deserve special praise for the array of intelligent concepts throughout the game.

All of the game becomes a great learning experience for the last level, where you have to perform all manner of skillful actions to defeat the Big Bad who has captured the princess. Getting to this point took me around 3 hours which unfortunately is the biggest downfall of Braid. This is a short game and although you may get stuck with some of the brain teasing puzzles once you have beaten the game there is very little to get from a replay. Apart from the speed runs, which really will only appeal to a select part of the audience. These challenge the player to obviously go through the game as fast as possible and there is no room for error which will prove extremely challenging for those who try it.

The PC version doesn’t use the mouse, just the keyboard and all you need are the arrow keys to move left and right and the spacebar to jump. The Shift key reverses time and basically thats about all there is to talk about. There is a tricky mechanic of using the arrow keys in conjunction with the space and shift keys to move and rotate some of the puzzles. This feels rather weird initially but after a few attempts its easy enough to manipulate. If you have a gamepad, this can be used and this will prove to be the better option for most players.

Graphically the PC version is identical to the Xbox 360 title and although the resolution isn’t as high as I would have liked to see there is something about the art design and 2d nature which will never age. The added bonus with this game is that it won’t require a powerful computer to run and anyone with a semi decent processor and even basic graphics card will handle it fine. The audio is wonderful with ambient, subdued music to set the tone for the whole Braid experience.

Today, most games follow a specific path during development which means that they steal or borrow ideas from other titles. Braid ends up a remarkably fresh and memorable game which will remain in your mind for a long time to come. It really is a modern day classic which will appeal to many gamers bored of today’s somewhat staid and uncreative gaming environment. Highly recommended.


Wonderful puzzles and game design.
No 295 GTX required. Extremely creative and unique art style.
Very emotional and haunting music to set the mood.
Quite short but the modest asking price helps.

Get it on Steam !

About Author

Stuart Davidson

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