XBLA: Braid

Puzzle platforming by reversing time? Surprising and aspiring, such antics can be found in Braid, a download-able Live Arcade game from independent developer Johnathan Blow. The game features a hub of worlds devilishly devised to stump even the most veteran puzzle fans. With a side scroll 2D design does Braid sparkle with innovation and design or is it time to turn back the clock?.

Utilizing a hub world, Braid presents itself with a series of 6 different worlds, each with their own set of levels presenting an additional unique game mechanic to each world. Though it does not present itself clearly to the player, there is a story to the game following protagonist Tim on his search for the princess. Though ambiguous at first, players soon find out all is not what is meant to be through the many books before starting each world. The core gameplay in Braid involves manipulating time to complete puzzles in 2d side scrolling levels. The objective is to collect puzzle pieces for each world scattered throughout it’s different levels to piece together the main jigsaw for the world and unlock the next piece of ladder to advance to the final stages. Though it sounds simplistic, the game is definitely not with enemies walking around on each level requiring players to think outside the box to complete a majority of them. Enemies play an an even more important role as you work through each of the worlds using them to help reach new areas or just killing off by jumping on them. As you progress, the levels gets more and more difficult and with the unique mechanic in each world gives each new world you reach a freshness. Controls in Braid is simple relying more on jumping by tapping A and involking Time control by tapping X and using the left and right bumpers to fast forward or rewind. Though the game has plenty of interesting elements in it’s design, it ultimately falls short with it’s overall length as the game can be finished in one sitting. However, puzzle platforming with the unique time mechanic is surely something everyone should see and experience.

Braid sets itself apart from alot of XBLA games and delivers in not only its unique style and story but also its unique gameplay elements that mesh to bring something fresh into the genre.
Braid is currently available to download from the Xbox Live MarketPlace for 800 MS Points.

Overall – 8.0