Even though the game has been out since 2009, I had only heard about it in the last couple of months. The buzz was that the simplicity of Braid hid underlying messages about love and the nature of time. That it wasn't simply a game: it was art!
Well, when Steam put it on sale for $2.99 a few weeks ago, I thought I would give it a try. Here's my breakdown.
I won't say too much about plot here, because there are some twists that I don't want to ruin for you. Really the plot is not in the game so much as in between levels. At the beginning of each "chapter" you come across books that give you a loosely told story of Tim and his Princess.
Most of the people claiming that this game is art fall to the plot of the piece. Let me warn you, as a writer, I found it interesting until the end. There is a huge twist that turns the story of Time and his Princess on its ear in an attempt to make the story meaningful and deep.
To me it fell as flat as a "and then I woke up and found it was a dream" ending. As someone who is trying to perfect my skills at storytelling, I found it trying so hard to be deep that it came off like my former ninth grade students using the thesaurus to find large words, and then proceed to use them incorrectly.
Each chapter of the game allows you to rewind time. But each chapter also has something new added. Some things are immune to your rewinds, sometimes there is a shadow version of yourself, and there is also a ring that slows time as well.
It was an interesting mechanic, but was also very frustrating. Against the advice of online reviewers, I used this walkthrough simply so I could know what knew monkey wrench was thrown in the mix (If you don't have a walkthrough, you have to find these things out through trial and error. Fun for some, I'm sure, but for me it was simply frustrating.)
Gameplay and Controls:
The controls were very simple for the PC version. Arrows and the shift button to control time.
If you're not very good at side scrollers, though, prepare to use the rewind button a lot. Many of the levels depend on precise timing.
For me, I found that the striving to be something more than a "game" was a bit too heavy handed for me.
However, the game does have a painterly style that was beautiful in spots, and there were lots of nods to classic Nintendo games that I enjoyed.
Some of the levels were fun to play, while others...well let me just say that I could only play the game in about 15 minute spurts.
If you like puzzle games, or want to try something that's very different from most games out there, it's the game for you.